Australia’s population increased by 3.5 million people in the decade 2006 to 2016. Around 60% of that population increase came from immigration.
There is no doubt that legal immigration is the cause of Australia’s exceptional population growth.
If we continue to allow annual immigration targets to determine the size of our population, then the Australian Bureau of Statistics expects that Australia’s population increase will double from 25 million to 50 million in just 30 years.
Governments, both Liberal and Labor, argue immigration is good for the economy, but economist Judith Sloan says immigration benefits special interest groups. She says the economics of immigration are very clear. In the short term immigration reduces per capita income and in the long term per capita income gains are very modest, but these calculations ignore the congestion costs, house prices and the loss of amenity.
Our immigration policy is like a rider-less horse. It is dangerous. What we need is a rider, a population policy to safely guide the immigration horse.
Each year the government of the day sets an immigration target but there is no plan to take into account the cumulative long term consequences of those year on year decisions. In fact it’s the States and Territories that are left to manage the ever increasing population.