Fear or fact? The Australian Migration Population Debate
What if we raise the plank? THE idea of slowing the nation’s population growth is tempting for any politician. No opinion poll taken in the past 60 years has found a majority of voters want to step up the immigration program, yet more than seven million immigrants have arrived since 1945. Australia has always felt like it was one intake away from having too many people chasing too few jobs, properties, seats on public transport and car parking spots in the city. But before either side consults its next poll, perhaps it should look again at NSW. The state stalled when it decided it didn’t need any more people.
The biggest game in town. THE key to Australia’s new population debate is the transformation of our immigration program during the past decade into a more flexible, globalised and far larger intake that has shattered the certitudes of the old system. The myth that haunts the immigration debate is that Canberra flicks the switch on and off at whim…..If (population czar) Burke can facilitate urban infrastructure planning, co-ordination and funding, his appointment will be a success.
Resources boom sounds a warning to immigration sceptics. OUR new population debate confirms the urgent need to convince Australians they will benefit from the new mining boom prosperity. Building a new economic growth consensus should be a central task for Kevin Rudd’s new Population Minister Tony Burke and his bureaucratic support in Treasury.
THE recent spike in immigration numbers is at least partly due to a pen stroke — a change in the way the Australian Bureau of Statistics calculates its figures. Tens of thousands of people who were not considered migrants before the ABS’s change in 2006 are now included in the count. One of the biggest contributors to the net immigration number, overseas students, is expected to wind back in coming years amid stronger competition from tertiary institutions in the US and Britain, and the recent Rudd government crackdown on dodgy colleges providing degrees that allowed graduates to stay on in the country.
OVERSEAS home buyers may be crowding locals out of the market. At backyard barbecues during the weekend, it’s a fair bet conversations turned to the political panic-button topics of interest rates, immigration and property prices. Yet the sparse data that is available undercuts the anecdotal evidence. International property giant DTZ’s project marketing director in Australia, Paul Barratt, reckons foreign investment in Queensland real estate has slumped more than 30 per cent in the past two years. Analysing the raw data provided by Queensland’s Department of Environment and Resource Management, he found foreign investment in the state’s property sector has crashed from $558m in 2007 to $355m in 2009. Foreign sales made up just 0.75 per cent of Queensland’s property transactions last year, he found.
Much of the above just goes to show Australia’s fear of difference and active intolerance, even if no evidence….