Australia can’t afford to build a new Melbourne every decade

By Leith van Onselen

Fairfax’s Clancy Yates has written an interesting piece today on former Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry’s, comments last week warning that Australia must undertake a massive infrastructure building program in order to avoid being choked by population growth:

…here’s what Henry had to say when asked to name an issue that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

“How come infrastructure is the elephant in the room in too many conversations about the circumstances that Australia finds itself in and the challenges and so on?

“The Australian population is growing by something like 400,000 a year. Think of it: a new Canberra every year between now and the end of the century. Or, put it this way, every five years building a brand new city from scratch in Australia for 2 million people.”

“Or put it this way: building a whole new city the size of Melbourne every decade between now and the end of the century”…

“My observation in Sydney and Melbourne today, is that people already think, with very good reason, that the ratio of population to infrastructure is too high. But we have set ourselves on a journey that implies an increase in that ratio. An increase in that ratio that is associated with more congestion, longer commute times to work, increasing problems with respect to housing affordability”…

Government capital spending – money used for assets such as roads, bridges, hospitals and schools – as a share of the economy has been on a downward trend since 2010…

Perhaps the more meaningful measure is how much we’re spending on infrastructure per person. That isn’t even coming close to keeping up with the growth in our population, which is much faster than most developed countries.

…travel times are getting longer in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, all of which drag on productivity…

Unless there is a rethink about our embrace of fast population growth, it all adds up to a convincing case for lifting government spending on public works. Either that, or we face the prospect of more traffic jams, more time getting to work and even less affordable housing.

All common sense stuff. However, why does everyone only focus on raising infrastructure spending? Why not also question Australia’s world-beating immigration, which is the driver of Australia’s population growth and the reason why Australia must build a new Canberra every year or a new Melbourne every decade to keep up?

Like it or not, building new infrastructure in Australia has become hideously expensive.

The Productivity Commision’s final report on An Ageing Australia: Preparing for the Future projected that Australia’s population would balloon to 38 million people by 2060 (primarily via immigration) and warned that total private and public investment requirements over the 50 year period are estimated to be more than 5 times the cumulative investment made over the last half century:

ScreenHunter_15679 Oct. 25 14.39

Then in its recent Migrant Intake into Australia report, the PC revised its population projection upwards to 40 million and warned that:

Governments have not demonstrated a high degree of competence in infrastructure planning and investment. Funding will inevitably be borne by the Australian community either through user-pays fees or general taxation.

Therefore, running a mass immigration program requires massive investment and costs a lot. But to date, Australia’s governments have failed dismally on this front, and there is nothing to suggest that the situation will change in the decades ahead.

The obvious solution, therefore, is to significantly scale back immigration and forestall the need for costly new infrastructure investment in the first place, especially given ongoing mass immigration is also likely to lower the welfare of incumbent residents.

The fact of the matter is that strong population growth is a policy choice determined by Australia’s immigration intake, not a fait accompli.

As shown in the next chart, which comes from the PC, Australia’s population will reach 40 million mid century under current immigration settings, some 13 million more than would occur under zero net overseas migration (NOM):

ScreenHunter_15977 Nov. 09 07.44

That’s a helluva lot of extra people to build infrastructure for versus a low or zero NOM policy.

So, instead of everyone hand-wringing over inadequate infrastructure investment, how about a national discussion over Australia’s mass immigration settings, which are the demand-driver causing the problems in the first place? Why not reduce immigration to sensible and sustainable levels?

And if our governments choose to continue mass immigration, where is the national plan to cope with building the equivalent of a new Melbourne every ten years ad infinitum? And how will Australia’s governments ensure that incumbent residents’ living standards will not be eroded by the associated pressures on infrastructure, housing, the environment, and the dilution of Australia’s fixed mineral endowment, which is a key driver of our wealth and living standards?

These are the threshold issues that must be asked of our policy makers as they continue our blind march towards a ‘Big Australia’.

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Unconventional Economist
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  1. Like I said yesterday, not ONE mention of the ponzi by Hamish McDonald on RN yesterday when he had his “cracker” housing affordability panel on. Which did include John Daly.

    • You must be talking about somewhere else Mr Wolf. It’s completely nuts here. Prices have tripled in 5 years my entire street is under construction. FWIW, I have never been a fan of rapid population growth.

      • It should be $5/hour mate, maybe $10. The hordes keep coming and the only way the council can make a buck out of them is parking. I swim in the ocean a few times a week. Still alive. More chance of being struck by lightning.

  2. Pollies can talk feel-good cheap talk about the need for better urban planning and infrastructure, but the reality has been the above (immigration worsening standards of living through worsening traffic, housing affordability and access to services). As Leith says, prevention is better than cure.

  3. Don’t build new Melbournes. Build a Buenos Aires, Capetown, Istanbul and New York so we have more exciting cities.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        Don’t worry, that poverty and violence is coming to a city near you. Probably sooner than you think.

      • And Melbourne doesn’t have poverty and violence? Just like Melbourne, if you are in the right spots of Capetown or BA then you are fine.

      • Yes..Melbourne does but that’s just do to lazy policing,unfettered immigration, ghettoization.. All which could be solved with by zero tolerance policing lower immigration and some form.of assimilation. much easier than the other 2 places. I’m an immigrant and I can’t believe Australians are so afraid to say “hey we have a good life here.. Don’t f## it up. When in Rome.

      • Melbourne already has the violence – try out North Melbourne and Flemington- where Adam Bandts federal seat is basically un-policeable (due to the human rights watchers suing vic police for profiling). You wouldn’t want to be there during the day or night – it’s an invasion in the most visceral sense of the word.
        Poverty it is not though….houses at a cool $859K+ and no local schools for local residents – private only. The other non poverty is in the form of Sudanese and Somali benefits – $16K unconditional when you arrive, $74K – conditional on finding a full time job (cabs aren’t full time and that’s 87% of their employment). Add that to my recent experience at Royal Melbourne – a Sudanese woman with zero employment prospects (ever) and no husband is having her 9th child – she pays $5/day for child care despite never needing it (thanks taxpayer), and her fortnightly benefit you ask? Over $3K per fortnight in her public housing flat she will never leave, her oldest sons who will be coming to a a juvenile centre soon and the occurrence of crimes you’ve never had in this country before. The future is in melbourne already – its violent but they are far from poor (thanks to all us). Refugees are a con from the UNHCR that have no relevance to the drafting of the convention after WW2.

      • @Rf ‘…$16K unconditional when you arrive, $74K – conditional on finding a full time job…’

        Do you have proof or link for that? Something that isn’t the Australian or Daily Terror rag?

    • Ah yes! More vibrant cities like Istanbul! Bring that on. What an improvement in quality of life that would bring, before all the water supplies were drained at least.

  4. The answer to that question is that if we don’t know how much something will cost, we can’t approach it from an economic perspective.

    By all means, if you want to discuss it from an environmental perspective, or a cultural perspective, or a religious/race perspective, by all means, do so. However, if you want to talk economics, then you have to have good figures on which to discuss that. At the moment, we are paying multiples of what we should for infrastructure, not what we could or should be paying. Thus, figures for discussing infrastructure from an economic perspective simply aren’t there. Quoting figures or reports based on inflated unrealistic price gouging don’t represent an economic case.

    • Jumping jack flash


      Price gouging wherever possible is absolutely necessary to service the debt bubble however. Everyone has a debt mountain and wants a standard of living too.

      Its either that or lowering interest rates.
      Most likely though, we’ll have both – low rates, and price gouging wherever possible. People are just greedy. And lazy.

    • And best comment I have seen on the “affordability” of infrastructure I copied/pasted fro the Fairfax site:

      “JJHornsby,Dec 13 2016 at 8:16am
      I was a former bond analyst and share analyst/portfolio manager.

      1) AAA is non-sensical. The general trend of interest rate is a much more significant determinant of cost of credit. AAA in HIGH interest rate environment would pay interest rate at level that CCC would need to pay in LOW rate environment. Politicians and average people seem NEVER understand this simple distinction.

      2) The political class seems not understand basic Finance 101 which says when interest rate is low, more debts SHOULD be used rather than paying debts or using equity (selling government assets) to finance projects.

      3) Government could borrow CHEAPEST. By having PRIVATE toll roads, railways, wharves, airports, education campuses, and even social welfare (provided by charities), these would need to pay HIGHER interest rate. The higher interest rate costs then are passed to the users and hence the WHOLE economy pays higher costs. Politicians on both sides seem NOT understand this simple logic.

      4) The public NEEDS to understand that the obsession with reducing government budget deficit and government debts is STUPID in low interest rate environment.

      5) All businesses including government have UP and DOWN in revenues. Borrowings now could be paid off by higher revenues in better time from better infrastructures that help the economy moves along much smoothly.

      6) Lastly and equally importantly, the high inflation and high interest rate of mid 1970~early 1990’s was an ABERRATION in modern economies of the last 150 years. Short of wars, it would not come back. The public, political class, the media, the finance industry and the business community in general should understand this. Those so called experts that have never worked in the bond market should read the economic history PROPERLY.”

      • Yes dan. Agree 100%. Economic blogs should be all over this as a major contributor to infrastructure problems. It’s not the only one, as I have pointed out. However, it should be front and centre in economic discussions.

      • i think what is being missed in this debate on high cost of infrastructure is the current procurement policy of various government agencies. Bulk of the procurement is done through existing panels, based on multiple year contracts at set prices. Some of this makes sense, i.e. specialised services. But the vast majority of funds spent on infrastructure can be put out as open tender with a set of rules and a lump sum. There is absolutely no reason why a road or a bridge needs to only go to a select few “pre-approved” companies who then carve up a project and let the smaller firms fight it out as subbies, while hoovering up the margins.

        This approach works for all sort of projects in the USA, and it has a vast and diverse construction industry that competes for government funding, driving costs lower and coming up with better ways. If a project is truly specialised and requires specific knowledge, or is just too large, sure, but these need to be exceptions, not rule.

        We risk to turn over another large sector of the economy to control of the small few, similar to 4 banks or 2 grocery store chains. And we are doing it through restriction of access to tenders through procurement.

      • “4) The public NEEDS to understand that the obsession with reducing government budget deficit and government debts is STUPID in low interest rate environment.”

        Why can’t you understand that it is not simply government debt that is the problem. That does not say government debt is NOT a problem. Negative RAT interest rates are a false construction based on reserve currencies printing whatever amounts they want to to fund excess consumption. It goes on till it can’t. However while you have Negative RAT rates your private sector goes into more and more debt – the prime example of the moment is Australia. In that circumstance government debt, in Australia, is real debt reflected $ for $ in foreign debt which requires us to sell our assets to foreigners to fund ourselves and stop the A$ crashing. That would mean runaway inflation, very high interest rates and a major hit to living standards. it is not a costless process.
        Can we please, please, please have realistic and factual sensible analysis of the economic situation instead of this Magic money Tree madness.

  5. I think there has to be a middle ground here. We can’t forestall infrastructure investment as what we have in Sydney/Melb is already vastly inadequate, even assuming zero population growth going forward. OTOH we’re too small a country to build a new Melbourne every decade, that’s just crazy!

    We need to work both of these levers (population and infrastructure) to get out of this quagmire.

    PS I think this is a very clever article, despite not mentioning immigration I’m fairly certain the author was hoping people would have almost this exact response. The author is probably a MB reader!

    • ‘The author is probably a MB reader’ – are you trolling? cause reusa could totally take lessons from you.

      you get that MB has a world view which is what they write about a lot. specifically for the purpose of getting others to talk about this. its known as the media.

      edit: i was going to mock you. but then i became emotionally invested. then i realized i was being trolled. well played, sir.

      • Thanks T! You overestimate my skills alas :p

        The true intent of the authors article is right there in the last paragraph: “Unless there is a rethink about our embrace of fast population growth..”

        The rest is just there as a backdrop IMO. I.e. It’s the author who’s trolling!

  6. Just like the rest of the war on youth, high population growth is part of it. This way, the boomers somewhat mitigate the aging effect for themselves, and then when the rest of us get old, we’re totally screwed with a much larger problem!

    • Don’t worry, Federal and State Cabinets have a majority of Gen X. They’ve been looking after your interests.

      You know, Cormann, Morrison, Frydenburg, Dutton, etc, etc, etc.

      Ably supported by a Gen X back bench. Corey Bernardi, George Christensen, etc, etc.

      With a great gen x cross bench in the Senate, Xenophon (of pump up house prices by using super fame), Jackie Lambie, the Greens, Mick Cash, etc. etc.

      But yeah. The boomers. *eyeroll*

      • when you need a specific demographic section to continue to get re-elected it doesn’t matter what generation occupies the seat, they are just agents for the majority voting block
        Gen X will not get a real say in things until the demographics change
        structural things like 3 year terms only make that worse

      • Travis,

        That’s very true. However, since Gen X+Y have been a bigger demographic than boomers since 2001, that’s fifteen years, Gen X+Y need to stop blaming boomers at some time. Especially since the most egregious housing price rises have occurred since 2001.

      • fair point emess but I reckon GEN Y is out there on their own, I think most of the GEN X I know have more in common with boomers with regards to values and opinions. As regards the housing bubble well I’m not sure you can pin that to anyone generation. I look at the huge run up in borrowing of the last 30 years as something reflecting some serious flaws at an individual’s level. In my book more debt = increasing need for possessions = increasing need to be validated = increasing anxiety/neurosis
        We never attribute society wide issues at the individual level preferring to make sense of them by assigning a category or all encompassing label eg. left v right or boomer v Gen X/Y etc.
        What I do know is that GEN Y has got the anxiety/neurosis bug like no other generation and the majority of the validation they crave is born out through “look at me” measures eg. materialism, tattoos, obscure fashions emphasising the individual etc. It doesn’t bode well irrespective of your generation

      • Jumping jack flash

        Everyone “learns” to be a “boomer” sooner or later.

        It isn’t a demographic, but a mindset.
        It happens sometime after you obtain and sell your first IP and reap all those sweet, sweet capital gains. Money for essentially, nothing. Buy and hold, and the occasional watering of the surrounding properties with copious amounts of debt.

        That mountain of someone else’s debt rushing into your bank account is a feeling like none other.

      • I guess that’s the reason I think this “blame the boomers” crap is counter-productive. If a whole generation of gen Xers think it’s not possible to do anything, because boomers, they won’t even make the attempt. The boomers, heading to retirement, are doing less and less, so the sum of those is that most people are disengaged. Now that provides a space for the lobbyists and FIRE industry parasites to fill.

        In other words, those chanting the “boomers’ fault” mantra are a serious part of the problem, working hand in glove with the FIRE industry to stop gen x from actually grabbing hold and taking control.

      • Gen X are the handmaidens of the Boomers, they’ve assisted and abetted them since the Howard era.

        Most of Gen X, the earlier cohort, has benefited hugely in the wake of the Boomers.

      • Nathan, we probably should think up a descriptor for gen x + boomers. As you point out, not much difference really.

  7. At least Ken Henry is getting people to visualize the scale of the issue. I don’t think a lot of people had pictured it in terms of new cities we have to build to house everyone. It seems a lot less alarming when depicted as a gently sloping chart, we are all used to seeing these in so many contexts.

    But now a city of Canberra every year, how are we doing for this year? Well our NSW government has with great fanfare announced a new land release near Sydney for…wait for it….2400 homes! So there’s that.

    • A bit rich of him to talk about elephants in the room, considering he still can’t see it outside of being an infrastructure issue and was completely blind to it the entire time he had capacity to influence it.

      • Well yeah, but he might inadvertently make some other people open their eyes and begin to understand why their quality of life is collapsing.

      • +10 Jimbo
        Dan Ken Henry would need to open his own eyes before he could get others to open theirs. He’s a myopic moron. He sees no problem with more and more and more debt – especially foreign debt.
        How would we build this infrastructure? – it would be another mass of foreign debt.

      • Flawse, if and when we ran our existing infrastructure more efficiently, and if and when we constructed new infrastructure for reasonable costs, that would be fair.

        However, we arguably pay twice as much for infrastructure as we should, and we apparently can only run half as many peak hour trains on some Sydney lines as we did in the 1930s…Having paid an outrageous premium for signal and track upgrades since then. That’s a fourfold gap into which we could fit more people if we want, or save money, should we curtail immigration.

        Sydneysiders voted in a Labor Government which shut its tram system in the sixties, and a Liberal Government in the 80s that cut out expertise, leaving us with a bunch of “managers”. We voted for what we have got, now we’re complaining because it’s falling apart and is massively expensive to boot.

        However, the bottom line is that public infrastructure problems are created by poor management, and private sector gouging of governments with zero expertise, and that’s what we voted for.

        If we want lower immigration because we want a small Australia, or we don’t want other cultures, or environmental impact, that’s fair enough. But infrastructure pressures? That’s all our own making.

      • Yes emess
        They brought the n immigration and indulged the RE ponzi. We CHOSE something else less, taxes and more consumption, instead of the required infrastructure. Maybe if interest rates were RAT positive we’d have saved and could have done the infrastructure and not had the ridiculous RE prices. Amazing what simple common sense economics can bring forth.

  8. I was watching a repeat of that crappy Mission Impossible on the idiot box last night.

    Central to the lame plot was a ‘killer virus’ that could decimate Australia’s population of “17 million”.

    The movie was produced in 2000. I did the maths of the now 23 million divided by 16 years and it comes to over 1000 people a day increase in our population. We are either rooting too much or bringing in a tad to many immigrants.

    Probably both.

    • Me too hareeba, what a time waste-bailed with two minutes left. Still, the virus was fittingly called the ‘chimera’; (n) a thing which is hoped for but is illusory or impossible to achieve.

    • Ah, Hollywood, best place to find accurate population stats….give or take a few million. Our population was just over 19 million at the turn of the century.

    • minimally. when i moved to sydney in 94 the train for a 7am shift start into the CBD was maybe 10-15% full. Now it’s 60-70% seating capacity full.

      Peak time for sydney is now prob 7.30-10am where seating capacity falls back to around 80% till the afternoon peak where loads are around 140% on a lot of trains till 6.30ish and likely above 80% till 7.30 or later on Thurs / Fri night.

      Weekend traffic int he city is worse than weekdays.

      0 net pop growth for a few years. Majority of immigration for true refugees – I’d gladly take 20,000 Syrian Christians a year, though only ones who could show they were christian in syria and not the ones “converting” after they left to try and show they’ll be persecuted if sent back.

      • The trouble is, can we put that down to overpopulation, or just that by gutting public transport management of it’s expertise, we’ve got what we deserve? That is, a dumbed down public sector that cannot run a public transport system.

        For example, some critical lines carry less trains in the peak than they did in the 1930s. Almost half the train numbers. That is, with older signalling, and rolling stock.

        If we got back to the 1930s, we could carry twice the number of people. Of course, that’s ridiculous. We don’t want to go back to the 1930s, so, realistically with much more modern systems, we should be able to carry at least two and one half the present number, without major expenditure.

        But, oh, that’s right. We got rid of our expertise, replacing operating and engineering in-house expertise with “managers”. Great feeling getting rid of all those lazy public servants, eh? Perhaps we should set those “managers” a KPI of running double the number of trains in the peak hour. With no extra funding.

        Train crowding isn’t an immigration issue if you run twice the number of trains on the same tracks as was possible in the 1930s.

      • Well without the high levels of immigration we wouldn’t have had the increase in population. It may not be all down to immigration, but I doubt anything else is as responsible for the congestion and loss of quality of life in Australia. It’s the root cause of housing inflation, loss of green space, and increased congestion for all forms of transport. The fact that the political class has failed to fund the rampant immigration is a second order issue. having a policy of close to zero pop growth solves a lot of problems.

  9. rob barrattMEMBER

    ”why does everyone only focus on raising infrastructure spending?”
    Well, er, let me see, Labor is owned by the CFMEU, whose power base is in em – building. The LNP receive large donations from er – oh yes – property developers. Their lifeblood is the population Ponzi.
    Why? It’s not hard to see why. Why is because politicians represent themselves – not you. Your only hope is a sea change in the maturity of Australian media. No hope for the ABC of course, their daily news resembles nothing more than a coffee morning where everyone competes to be the most PC. “Our children are falling behind in educational standards” – no worries! A suitably PC professor is brought in to explain that it’s “because they are taught to be citizens”. The idea that the world is competitive & you had better know your 3 Rs? Heaven forbid! The Chinese know this of course. They’re the ones coyly described as the “not of English background” group who do better. That cannot be discussed in detail of course, because it would involve the use of the extremely PI phrase “work ethic” (heaven forbid).
    You have to switch to Al Jazeera to hear the world news.
    I think if there is one thing most Australians are feeling it’s a sense of helplessness. Between the 457 visa rorts (shared by both sides), the union rackets and the relentless PC attitudes (while they reward themselves with buckets of public money) there’s a growing disconnect with economic reality.

    • Rudd and Gillard did nothing about negative gearing and nothing for the homeless. Rudd actually gave insulation to people who already have a house!

      If the ALP is about looking after the unions – why did they spend a fortune on offshore detention centres?

      And why did they print 457 visas like mad? Given that 457 visa workers are very unlikely to be union members.

      The ALP was a big fan of the real estate bubble and the ABC’s Leigh Sales probably also likes the bubble.

    • You’re damn right in that feeling of helplessness. I was just thinking today how at this point in time I feel like I am slowly going crazy with all the utterly stupid things going on in this country which are 100% unavoidable. What’s worse is that it seems like most people either don’t care or are absolutely oblivious to it.

  10. In my life, I have had the good fortune to live in 6 wonderful cities before they became slums – Cairo, Tehran, Amsterdam, Manila, Paris and London.

    I have been in Melbourne for 7 years and can see which way the wind is blowing. I hope to get “out” before being compelled to move to yet another place.

  11. Australia can’t afford to build a new Melbourne every decade
    WHY NOT??
    Australia’s economy is overly reliant on exports of primary produce and under reliant on the exports that rely on human capital.
    The exports that are human capital based scale with population, a bigger population results in more export income which enables more imports, more infrastructure build and and a larger GDP.
    Economic complexity is an indirect measure of the usefulness and skillfulness of our Australian population, what tasks can we undertake, and do we have all the skills to complete a project? as in take it from Research through to Revenue.
    Countries that score high on the metrics of Economic complexity are generally more than happy to accommodate more skillful individuals…whereas for Countries that score low on the Economic complexity scale, every additional person means a smaller share of the resource pie for existing Aussies.
    Put politely Australia is assembling a country full of useless twats that are too stupid to understand what’s broken.

      • It would have been good 20 years ago but today we should really be considering a solution that’s even further from Sydney. I’d suggest a build out of Newcastle airport /RAF base Williamtonwn is a far better solution. This airport would need a high speed train link to Sydney but just look at what this combination enables population wise on the Central coast/ Hunter valley. Newcastle airport is more or less on an unpopulated section of the coast so there wont be major noise issues with over the water landing / takeoff required of a 24/7 international airport.

    • with automation and Ai systems displacing a large % of workers over the next 20 years, what is the benefit of a large population?

      we already punch above our weight in medical and agricultural niches. we should be expanding these areas.

      with the large areas of no population we could be a testing ground for renewable energy. literally free land to test out new ways of building green energy infrastructure, so long as local companies are teamed up with so we can get then turn the know how into a competitive advantage as an export of managing the building of similar systems overseas.

      what do you see as the long term sustainable population for Australia? how do we ensure there’s enough water for the environment / industry / humans? how much of that cost could we avoid by lowering our pop growth?

      i see only negatives with the igh pop growth we were bequeathed by howard and geared up by rudd and gillard.

      you’d ahve to show me a very detailed cost benefit analysis before i’d support muhc more than pop growth 50K each year, but even that is a new canberra every 7 years

      • You’re right about the impact of AI/Robotics on our need for manual labor but wrong about it’s impact on skilled labor and profiting from your differentiated knowledge/capabilities.
        As for our growing a Big Australia, that doesn’t concern me at all. For me it’s all about being prepared. Prepared for what? well actually the exact dysfunction that you describe. It won’t impact Australia because we’re already fully invested in BS jobs so AI is useless it’d provide the right answer when what’s required is actually the wrong answer (as in many Aussies profit from their own and others incompetence)
        If you think about countries like India and most of SEAsia they’ll have close to 1B people each that are completely worthless. What happens when 2B people are completely unneeded? hint look towards Africa for answers. We’re going to be involved in this if we like it or not so we’d best be prepared.

      • Why australia isn’t the world leader of solar power just baffles me. The entire interior of this country is just so perfect for this tech. We don’t have a problem with being the leaders in killing off our natural wildlife, so I don’t see why arguments of endangering the blue eared yellow footed drop tail wombat should stop us.

    • rob barrattMEMBER

      Useless twats CB?
      Couldn’t we employ them at McDonald’s – oh wait – that’s the 457 visa lot right? Is there a PhD course in Political Correctness? you know, something not too heavy on the maths & science, a trite answer for everything & endless public money to pay for it all. They’d be perfect material…

    • So why does Singapore not have mass immigration?


      Sweden still makes cars.

      You love the overcrowded trains.

    • Judges on their hogs roaming the streets keeping crime at bay. apartment blocks with populations of 50,000+. must be the population ponzi pushers concept of a wet dream. bthe block will be replaced with block wars as the militias of neighbouring blocks take out some of the stress and boredom they are under. not sure if strayans would accept sugar and coffee being banned though.

  12. In a place where you have the most expensive land in the world, of course we can’t afford it.

    The cost would be self-liquidating if we had cheap land.

  13. Well, the electricity infrastructure has just collapsed in Sydney inner West. 38 degree day and .. the power goes out! What do you call a million dollar dump with no electricity? A Rustic Sydney Mansion.

    So when we throw open the doors to prop up our economy we better tell the new immigrants to bring a good supply of batteries or at least a kerosene lamp.