pm signals migration cut to curb population concerns

Migration and the property industry

Housing Industry Australia’s Principal Economist Tim Reardon said the economic growth over the past decade has been built on the back of strong growth in skilled migration

“This population growth has led to a boom in residential building,” Reardon said.

“The building and construction industry now employs one in ten workers and supplies at least one in five of every dollar of revenue to the states.”

Reardon believes a dramatic change in migration intake can create economic shocks to major industries, especially the building industry.

Reardon noted Australia’s population growth rate has been slowing for the past 18 months and is likely to continue as Australia becomes a less attractive destination for skilled migrants in comparison to other developed economies.

“Tighter Visa requirements and punitive taxation regimes imposed on foreign investors last year are continuing to shift migration and investment away from Australia, toward our major trading partners,” Reardon said.

“Governments should be cautious of thinking that migration and investment can be switched on and off.”

Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson said the proposal to develop an immigration policy needs to be balanced with national leadership on infrastructure.

“Ultimately the discussion on immigration numbers and where growth should occur will be a balance between bottom-up opportunities for growth and top-down leadership on how to manage growth through new infrastructure.”

Johnson believes a condition of federal funding for infrastructure should be the cutting of red tape in planning systems, which he says is adding unnecessary costs to housing, especially in Sydney.

“We believe significant growth can occur in Australian cities like Sydney if new infrastructure is matched with the new growth.”

The PM is set to use a Council of Australian Governments meeting next month to convene a conversation about population with state and territory leaders.

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