Coalition’s plan for 160,000 NOM a step in the right direction

Sustainable Population Australia

Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) has welcomed the federal Coalition’s plan to reduce annual net overseas migration (NOM) to 160,000, saying it is “a step in the right direction”.

In the year ending 30 September 2023, NOM reached 548,800.

SPA national president, Peter Strachan, says recent levels of NOM were totally unsustainable in social and environmental terms.

“The most obvious consequence of two decades of rapid population growth has been demand outstripping supply for housing, resulting in a housing crisis,” says Mr Strachan.

“This underpins the overall cost of living crisis of which Prime Minister Albanese is all too aware. Nevertheless, Albanese is failing to deal adequately with the real source of the problem, namely, too many people demanding an affordable roof over their heads.

“It is not the migrants who are to blame. The current government is to blame for allowing immigration numbers to blow out. It has taken baby steps toward reining in student numbers and raising standards of skilled migrants but it needs to go much further and bring NOM down below 100,000 pa.”

Mr Strachan says that immigration policy needs to be set in the context of a broader population policy which should largely be determined by what numbers this continent can ecologically sustain in the long-term.

“All the environmental indicators are going backwards,” says Mr Strachan. “Clearly, we are not living sustainably with the numbers we have. The first priority must be to stabilise our population numbers, preferably below 30 million.

“Natural increase (births minus deaths) is slowly declining thanks to below replacement fertility. We don’t need to change that. What we do need to change is immigration as it makes up four fifths of Australia’s population growth.

“The Coalition’s 160,000 pa target is a good start but needs to be halved again if we are to stabilise our numbers. It is still big enough to allow a humanitarian component of 20,000 pa, a reasonable spouse and dependent intake, and a skilled program, but one restricted to people with actual job offers at above median salaries.

“SPA is not opposed to agricultural and aged care workers coming in on temporary visas from the Pacific and East Timor but the time they spend in Australia should be limited to six months each year so they can maintain their life back home.

“It is imperative that Australia builds up its own skills base through better funding of Universities and TAFE, and by ending rorts that undercut wages with cheaper migrants.”

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