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Statement on population numbers by Jack Roach, Boroondara Residents' Action Group (BRAG)

We have noticed many more letters to the local newspapers raising the issue of high population growth mainly due to immigration. A recent survey conducted by The Australian Population Research Institute (TAPRIS) has reported that “74% of voters thought that Australia does not need more people”. The following points set out some of the reasons why we should be demanding better immigration controls by our governments:

· The reason why many people feel they haven’t benefited from Australia’s long stretch of economic expansion is because they haven’t.

· Our pay packets haven’t increased while many of our essential goods and services have gone through the roof

· High Migration makes it nearly impossible for Australia to fall into recession.

· It’s great for business because it keeps wages low and there are more people to buy their goods and services.

· It looks great for governments because it means that economic growth looks better than it really is.

· But it isn’t that good for our existing ordinary wage and salary workers.

· More people means more demand for scarce goods and services. When there’s tight supply it results in huge price rises (such as Housing).

· As the new Reserve Bank Governor, Phillip Lowe, has stated “the role of good economic policy should be to raise living standards – not make the population and therefore the economy bigger”.

· And why don’t the politicians do that? Political donations influence? Maybe too many have investments in property and development that require more and more customers.

0ur very high rate of population growth is twice the world average and three times that of UK, France, the US and similar western countries. Our governments over the last 20 years or so have claimed that this has driven our economic growth without us suffering from a recession like other countries. The reality is that our citizens have gained no real fiscal benefit from this population growth.

In 2016 our intake was reduced to around 200,000 p.a. from the 250,000 mark and just recently our Minister for Immigration was suggesting we should reduce our intake by a further 20,000. However our Prime Minister was not prepared to do so. Why not?

The reality is that, since the GFC, Australia has seen per capita income go backwards as evidenced by stagnant wages growth. The slight reduction in the long term arrivals to departure ratio presents a misleading picture because migration to Australia is still proceeding at a record pace with a massive lift in long term visa holders which are not included in our immigrant numbers. There are currently around 2 million long term visa holders in Australia right now all needing somewhere to live. Overall our rate of population growth has averaged 1.7% which compares with around 0.7% average for UK, France & the US.

Right now the rate of population growth for Melbourne is up around 2.4 %. That’s four times more than UK, France & the US and other OECD countries.

Time for action. There is an election coming so take advantage and confront your local member and vote for change. If we reduce our migrant intake to around 70,000 p.a. we would still be ahead of the pack and meeting our international obligations. That would give us breathing space to catch up with the infrastructure upgrades we desperately need for our existing population and, maybe in time, we could provide infrastructure to cope with our future migrant intake.

To continue as we are will result in further degradation of our environment, lifestyle and flat financial position and ultimately end up living in overcrowded high rise ghettos and no one wants that do they?

Jack Roach

Consultant to the Boroondara Residents’ Action Group. (BRAG)

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