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  1. #1
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    Question Record immigration a good thing?

    Just released ABS data show Net Overseas Migration in 2012 was 235,000 persons -- a record high level, and representing 60% of Australia's population growth of 1.8%.

    While I am generally a supporter of a robust immigration program, there are a couple of reasons to believe these levels are excessive:
    • Because economic growth is still subdued, such high immigration is not good for unemployment and has a suppressive effect on real wages.
    • Population growth of 1.8% would mean our population would double by 2051 to 46 million, which is 10 million more than even the "Big Australia" that was talked about a few years ago
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    What do you think?

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    Are you concerned about immigration or population? (I ask only because your second point about "Big Australia" is also a question about natural increase, not just immigration.) Anyway, I'm no economist, but I tend to be in support of higher immigration because:

    It leads to an increased demand for goods and services, which is helpful for business, employment and the economy.
    Many immigrants start their own small businesses - again helpful for Australians, especially if they employ people.
    I have some confidence that the Department of Immigration follows government planning and guidelines, which means that the states can manage expansion of infrastructure to accommodate more people.
    Australia's cities have the capacity to accept more people. Our cities, have some of the lowest population densities in the world.

    Having said all this, I have to admit that I like living in a less populated place and like everyone, I probably have a bit of fear of that changing. But when I think about people wanting to make a new life for themselves in a new country, I am in support of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cdro View Post
    Are you concerned about immigration or population? (I ask only because your second point about "Big Australia" is also a question about natural increase, not just immigration.)
    Population. Given natural increase is not going to exceed 0.8% under any scenario, immigration is the major driver here. And, no, immigration levels are not geared to infrastructure planning, and that's the problem. Australia actually doesn't have a population policy, and immigration is currently geared to the most short-term economic goals, with virtually no debate about the longer term consequences.

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    I too support immigration however do feel it is risky to not have plans in place to accommodate the changing needs of infrastructure so that the growing population can be supported.

    When infrastructure doesn't effectively support increased immigration the current population tend to turn on our new residents....at least this was my experience when living in Scotland.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnC View Post
    Population. Given natural increase is not going to exceed 0.8% under any scenario, immigration is the major driver here.
    Immigration levels are also hovering around the 0.8% level. Over the long term, immigration has dropped considerably in percentage terms, from around 1.2% in the 70's to 0.8% now.
    Also, you mentioned that net immigration was 235,000, and on the Department of Immigration website, it says 190,000. Like I said, I'm not an economist, but seems like there might be some confusion in the data.

    I guess then that the problem a broader one of disconnected population and infrastructure policy? Perhaps because one is federal and the other largely state controlled. What do you think?

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    The keeper of NOM stats is the ABS, which on Friday released this:
    The preliminary estimates of net overseas migration recorded for the year ended 31 December 2012 (235,900 people) was 17.0%, or 34,400 people, higher than the net overseas migration recorded for the year ended 31 December 2011 (201,600 people).
    And you're perfectly correct that the disconnect is between State control of infrastructure and federal control of immigration. But there is also a total lack of informed debate. Have we really thought about what an Australia with twice as many people as today would/could/should look like? Because that's the world our children are currently headed for?


 

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