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Australian Population Growth, Sustainability, Immigration and Skill Shortages

Australian Population Growth, Sustainability, Immigration and Skill Shortages

Leaders at odds on growth. The ACT must populate or stagnate, according to Chief Minister Jon Stanhope who has signalled his opposition to any attempt to cut skilled migration to Australia.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard distanced herself yesterday from the idea of a ”big Australia” of 30 to 40 million people favoured by her ousted predecessor Kevin Rudd, but Mr Stanhope said he wanted the ACT to grow by up to 140,000, or more than one third of its present population.

Immigration policies expected to change as high-growth target goes. SUSTAINABLE Population Minister Tony Burke says the government will adjust immigration policies so populated regions are not stretched. But the policies would ensure skills shortages were filled.

After Julia Gillard declared at the weekend she did not want a “Big Australia”, the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Industry Group and the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry all warned that growth was needed to support the economy and offset the ageing of the population. Demographers said if the new Prime Minister did not want to reach Treasury’s forecast 36 million people, she would have to cut immigration.

Playing politics on population
. JULIA Gillard’s rejection of Kevin Rudd’s “Big Australia” goes dangerously close to cornering her into a low-growth economy. The momentum from the strongest population growth since the 1960s was one of the chief reasons Australia sailed through the global financial crisis.

Australia has plenty of room for 40 million people if we manage it properly, whatever the new Prime Minister says. We need more immigrants, not just to fill labour shortages in the resource states but also to satisfy the demands of a richer-growth economy pumped up by the mining boom’s bounty.

But Gillard is being driven by the politics of rising traffic congestion in Sydney and our other big cities, the pressure for higher urban housing density and double-digit price inflation for household electricity, gas and water. Gillard’s early rhetorical move on population, aimed directly at Labor’s western Sydney heartland, reveals its role in Rudd’s demise.

West desperate for workers, say business. WESTERN Australia’s peak business body has warned Julia Gillard the state is desperate for workers and migration has to increase. WA Chamber of Commerce & Industry chief executive James Pearson said unlike parts of the eastern states, where there were issues of overcrowding and congestion, West Australian employers needed workers.

“In Western Australia, we are desperate for workers, we need almost half a million over the next decade,” he said. “We have to get a lot of them from overseas . . . if we don’t get them, then the WA economy will not grow to full potential and that means that the rest of the country will not have the benefit of extra investment and, ultimately, the extra jobs for Australians in the eastern states as well as WA.”

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