Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has called on the new Immigration Minister, Brendan O’Connor, to heed the findings of a paper issued yesterday. It found that the number of migrants arriving in Australia since the beginning of 2011 who found jobs about equals the number of new jobs created in Australia for everyone over the same period.
The paper was written by Professor Bob Birrell and Ernest Healy of the Centre for Population and Urban Research (CPUR), Monash University.
SPA National President, Ms Sandra Kanck, says this has had harmful impact on employment levels and working conditions of ‘incumbent’ Australians, particularly young people. Incumbents include migrants who arrived prior to 2011 as well as Australians born here.
“Since 2010, employment growth has slowed to about 100,000 a year,” says Ms Kanck. “Yet permanent immigration keeps increasing and is now at a record high level of 210,000 for the 2012-13 program year.
“This is on top of very high numbers of temporary migrants who might also work – 457 and working holiday visa holders, students and New Zealanders. There are over one million temporary migrants living in Australia now,” says Ms Kanck.
“Australia still has strong natural increase in its workforce, with the number of people turning 18 outnumbering those turning 65 by 80,000 per year. No extra jobs were made available to those young jobseekers over the past two years. Each one who found a job left an older worker unemployed.
“As a first step, the new Minister must match the immigration program to the number of jobs available and not disadvantage incumbent Australians, especially young people. Youth unemployment in northern Adelaide suburbs is now 42.6 per cent. It is also unacceptably high in the western suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney.
“As a second step, the Minister should note that immigration makes up 58 per cent of Australia’s very high annual population growth rate of 1.6 per cent. By cutting immigration, he will reduce population growth. This is vital for preserving the environment and for many other social reasons such as reducing housing unaffordability and hospital waiting times.”