Uncontrolled immigration is seriously damaging the economy

27 March, 2024

The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures and the ongoing cost of living crisis highlight a problem that we, as the offspring of migrants or migrants ourselves, are perhaps ashamed to admit. The uncontrolled and excessive number of incoming immigrants without a corresponding increase in available housing is seriously damaging the economy.

Net migrant arrivals rose 73 per cent to 737,000 from 427,000 arrivals a year ago, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released last week.

In the five years leading up to the COVID pandemic, the average number of migrant arrivals was 515,000 a year.

The Albanese government has repeatedly put housing at the heart of its policy, promising to build 1.2 million homes over five years.  Economists, however, express reasonable doubts about achieving this target, given the continuing shortages of labour and materials.

National Australia Bank chief executive Ross McEwan, one of the country’s most senior bankers, said the country’s burgeoning housing crisis could soon be a wider blow to the economy, with a squeeze on growth.

House prices have risen sharply, and are now among the highest in the world. At the same time, rental affordability is now at its worst levels ever recorded, and rising levels of immigration are putting unbearable pressure on the country’s housing stock.

A serious barrier to new house construction is planning regulations, which restrict supply and have led to the number of new planning permits hovering at decade lows.

Last week Reserve Bank governor Michele Bullock said that addressing the issues around development policies and infrastructure projects is an important aspect of solving the problem and will help boost housing supply.

Resolving the housing issue will lead to the smooth integration of migrants into society, end runaway rent increases and keep the economy at a desirable growth rate.

Our country in the past has managed to avoid the major economic blows that have destroyed the economies of other countries. Australia has significant mineral resources for export, a strong tourism industry, a great education system that attracts thousands of international students annually and generally one of the best living standards in the world.  It is therefore to be expected that millions of immigrants would want to enter here.

What has long distinguished Australia’s immigration policy, however, is selective, careful and considered immigration. For some reason, however, the latest evidence suggests that the current flow of incoming migrants is anything but well thought out.

Reducing this flow and solving the housing problem are not options if we are to avoid a real economic collapse.

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