In yet another bizarre twist in the property development lobby's constant pushing for high immigration, one of its strongest advocates over the past decade, Ron Silberberg, Managing Director of the Housing Industry Association (HIA) appears to have come out blaming immigration for the housing crisis which his own organisation's advocacy for higher immigration helped to create. "There has been an uncontrolled expansion of the immigration program," Dr Silberberg told a Senate committee in Canberra, according to an AAP sourced article, "Immigration blamed for housing crisis," in The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday April 1, 07:01PM. Analysts of Australia's rampant population-growth-lobbying movement were today scratching their heads and sending round emails asking if this was an April Fools joke. Mr Ilan Goldman, housing analyst, wrote to housing sociologist, Sheila Newman, late Tuesday night: "Is it an April Fools joke, or is it for real? If it is real, I need you to analyse it " Goldman felt that the article was probably real news, since the same news had appeared at the following addresses: http://news.smh.com.au/immigration-blamed-for-housing-crisis/20080401-22... at Yahoo News: http://au.news.yahoo.com/060622/2/zhm9.html, and at NineMSN; http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=59380 The Sydney Morning Herald went on to report that "Housing Industry Association (HIA) managing director Ron Silberberg blamed the shortage of private rental accommodation on net immigration he estimated at 250,000 people a year." Silberberg had also described Australia's immigration program expansion as "uncontrolled", and as having increased at a massive pace, blaming pressure on private rental housing for these huge, uncontrolled increases. Most surprisingly, Silberberg admitted that the federal government could use the immigration program as a way to diminish the housing crisis problem. He said that immigration was substantially impacting on the housing crisis. "It's a very significant influence on the demand for housing and accommodation." Silberberg was critical of the Immigration Department, which he thought did not have a "proper understanding of labour market forecasting." He complained of a shortage of building trade workers in Australia, claiming that only around 800 immigrants in a rough total of 250,000 per annum, were suitably skilled in housing construction. There was apparently some discussion about 'releasing' more land (a term which means clearing bushland or rezoning agricultural land, entailing heavy carbon emissions). The Planning Institute of Australia advanced the opinion that releasing more land needed to be balanced by a construction sector able to meet the demand. In a more familiar pitch, Planning Institute National President, Neil Savery said, "Addressing undersupply is a critical issue if we are to ensure that we are able to adequately and affordably house our communities as Australia continues to develop." Population growth lobby analysts see this kind of remark as an indication that the property lobby is about to ask for an increase in immigration numbers of building tradesmen. They say that the term 'undersupply' (referring to land) could just as well be replaced with the term 'oversupply' (referring to population). This is a property developer construct which glosses over the real problem, which is that Australia has reached its comfortable limits to growth. "We're not saying that addressing supply is the panacea to the problem and certainly that the equation in relation to supply isn't simply: `Let's release as much land as we can possibly can on the urban fringe of the city'," Mr Savery was reported to have said. "It is unlikely that Dr Silberberg or Mr Savery are on the road to Damascus. Leopards rarely change their spots," concluded housing sociologist, Sheila Newman, after a quick review of these remarks.