Salt of the Ponzi launches decentralisation pipe dream

By Leith van Onselen

Bernard Salt – the self-proclaimed “unabashed supporter of a bigger Australia” – took to LinkedIn yesterday in response to Dick Smith’s call for Australia to slash Australia’s immigration intake, calling for Australia’s immigration intake to be shifted away from Sydney and Melbourne:

Speaking to Seven News nationally for broadcast tonight. Dick Smith says we must reduce immigration to 70k from 200k. I say immigrants have made a wonderful contribution to Australian society and prosperity. I say the issue is one of distribution: that we need to siphon growth from Melbourne and Sydney to other capitals. I say if the Australian people want to substantially reduce immigration then do so over ten years to give the construction industry time to adjust . I say we should be able to have mature and rational discussion about immigration levels.

This seems to be the new catchcry from proponents of mass immigration: that Australia should simply distribute population more evenly across Australia.

Another pro-immigration booster, George Megalogenis, made similar arguments Back in May:

“If most of the population growth that’s already in train for the next 10, 20, 30 years ends up in Sydney and Melbourne, we’ve got a problem. But if we are able to pull-off decentralisation – something we’ve been talking about for more than 100 years as a nation… – we may be able to fit the next 10 or 20 million people a lot easier than otherwise would be the case”…

“You look at Sydney’s topography and it can’t fit another million people easily. And you look at Melbourne’s, and it will fit in another million but at the expense of livability because they just keep pushing the boundary out. That next million, that next two million, that each city knows is in train could be divided quite neatly across not just the Eastern Seaboard but inland…”

“The default setting to me could potentially be catastrophic for the country over the next 20 years if people just end up in Melbourne and Sydney”.

The Turnbull Government and the Victorian Liberal Opposition have made similar arguments.

There are two inherent problems with the decentralisation argument.

First, hoping for decentralisation to happen is a pipe dream. The uncomfortable truth is that the settlement pattern of new migrants into Sydney and Melbourne has become extreme over the past five years, according to the latest Census. As noted by Tim Colebatch:

…the third wave of migration we are seeing now is almost completely city-centric. In Sydney on census night, the 224,685 Chinese migrants… But in the rest of New South Wales, with its 2.65 million people, the census found just 9578 Chinese migrants. Only 4.2 per cent of those in New South Wales live outside Sydney.

Sydney is also home to 96.3 per cent of the state’s Vietnamese-born population, 97.4 per cent of its Iraqi migrants, and 97.6 per cent of its Lebanese…

Migrants to Victoria are similarly concentrated in Melbourne. The few square kilometres ruled by the Melbourne City Council houses four and a half times as many Chinese-born residents as the 210,000 square kilometres of regional Victoria, which includes cities like Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. Melbourne is home to 97.2 per cent of Victoria’s Chinese migrants, 96.8 per cent of its Sri Lankans, 94.9 per cent of its booming Indian-born population, and 98.0 per cent of its Vietnamese…

Migrants usually flock to the cities. It’s natural that newcomers go where they have friends or family. But what we are seeing now is that natural tendency carried to extreme lengths.

Second, Bernard Salt himself has projected that Brisbane and Perth will also experience extreme population growth, hitting 6.2 million and 7.0 million people respectively by the end of the century, with Sydney’s and Melbourne’s populations each topping 11 million people:

Melbourne and Sydney generally account for 40 per cent of the national population. If this nation does get to 54 million in 85 years then our two biggest cities could each have about 11 million. Melbourne has a grand vision to take the city to close to eight million; Sydney has an embarrassingly modest plan to grow the city to six million. Where do we put the extra three million in Melbourne and the extra five million in Sydney over and above current planning? The same logic applies to Brisbane and Perth: what do these cities look like with an extra two million people over and above the number accounted for with current strategic thinking?…

If Sydney and Melbourne are to add between three and five million people to existing city plans throughout the century, how will that growth be accommodated? It’s a fair and a confronting question. Further densification seems probable but this also means greater difficulty in navigating the urban mass…

I think Sydney’s extra millions would inevitably spill further southwest beyond the new airport and into the Wollondilly plains. I think Melbourne would continue to sprawl in a Los-Angelean form, ever northward and ever westward… Brisbane must press west into and around ­Ipswich… Perth’s future shape is set: the city must consolidate into a thickened elongate urban form not unlike the Miami-West Palm Beach conurbation

Assuming that Australia could magically divert immigration from Sydney and Melbourne, how may more people could these other cities realistically take? And why would it be desirable?

Indeed, former Treasury Secretary, Ken Henry, made similar observations back in May:

“The Australian population’s growing at somewhere around about 350,000 to 400,000 a year… It’s also true that the cities are growing very strongly – Sydney and Melbourne are growing by around 100,000 people a year. And for fairly obvious reasons, new immigrants do tend to settle in areas of population concentration – cities – because that’s typically have been the places for easiest integration into the economy and integration into society…

“We think maybe 7 million more will fit, somehow, into Sydney and Melbourne by that time [mid-century] – they will be cities of 8 million each. Very large cities by international standards, Sydney and Melbourne…. But even then there will be something like 8 or 9 million living outside of Sydney and Melbourne”…

In short, there would be extreme population pressures across Australia, not just in Sydney and Melbourne.

The only genuine solution to alleviating the pressures that come from mass immigration is to drastically cut the intake and stabilise the population at a sustainable level.

On this issue, Dick Smith’s call to reduce net migration from 200,000 to the historical average of 70,000 people is spot on.

[email protected]

Unconventional Economist


  1. You should publish a graph showing the population growth in Netherlands vs AUS from 1960 to today.

    In 1960, Netherlands had more people than AUS! Today, AUS has 7.5 million more people than Netherlands!

    What the hell for? Is Holland a terrible place to live? What are the wages and house prices in Holland?

    • Was there a couple of months ago. Amsterdam felt a lot like Sydney, was ok for a visit, but wouldn’t live there. Mind you stuck to city centre mostly, so perhaps there are better areas.

      Delft & Maastricht were much nicer, less crowded.

      I didn’t do any strict comparisons, but home prices I saw didn’t seem particularly cheap relative to Australia, have you seen differently?

      • Some good friends of ours (family of 6) couldn’t afford to buy a house in Melbourne within a decent commute of the city (i.e. within 17 kms) and in a nice area, and were sick of renting, so they moved to the Netherlands last year. They have purchased a large four bedroom double story home. They swear it is way cheaper over there.

      • What region are they in UE? Close to a city the size of Melbourne? A lot of the homes I saw (stayed in a few with friends while travelling through Europe) were on very small lots. It was pointed out to me (should have been obvious I guess :p) that a lot of European cities were developed with small plots to fit within defensive walls. Would be interesting to do a $/€ comparison per sqm.

        • They are close to Amsterdam, but not actually in Amsterdam. Not sure what it is called. They live 5 mins from one of the unis (the husband is a professor of geology). Apparently it doesn’t take long to get to Amsterdam.

      • In Europe you don’t need to be in a “city the size of Melbourne” in order to have access to culture and opportunity.

      • McPaddy, I don’t know how you are measuring ‘opportunity’.

        As far as culture goes, I love that aspect of Europe, the history, the buildings and architecture, the difference cultural norms between countries and cities. But it’s not like that is something that can be artificially generated in Australia, it has formed over many hundreds of years in Europe…

  2. We’ve got this same sex postal vote coming up in a few weeks. In the end very few people’s lives will be affected, though with all the publicity you’d think it’s foremost on everyone’s mind. If only we had some sort of vote or say on the immigration rate. After all, it does impact all of us.

    Good on you, Leith, for pumping out all this info day in day out. You’re preaching to the converted, of course, but as more people come to this website, hopefully they’ll be enlightened when they realise how they’ve been shafted for so long. Keep up the good fight!

  3. The sad fact is that for all the talk, there is no alternative plan for Australia. The Megacity model and big shopping centres selling chipboard knick knacks is all they can think of. In the world of the elites, Bernard is a visionary, dreaming of an Ikea and a hi rise springing up in Betoota. Maybe it could work?

    • + many. the system is tottering due to the incompetence of the elites running it.

      when the elite can no longer maintain the machine, they will be replaced. since the elite are no longer running squat, we are at the point where we are waiting for said elite to be replaced. turbulence is expected.

      we might get lucky though – so yeah, realistically it might work.

    • Absolutely 100% correct!!! Salt and his fellow elitists have so, quite deliberately, destroyed the economic and social life of regional and rural Australia that there is now nothing there. What the hell good would it do? Just transfer the problems somewhere else.
      Anyway the immigrants don’t want to go anywhere where it is a bit hot and you might have to work in the hot sun. Why should they? They can sit in Sydney and melbourne, get a government job or welfare and then eat in each other’s restaurants and coffee shops.
      Is this a great nation or is it a great nation?

      • “Anyway the immigrants don’t want to go anywhere where it is a bit hot and you might have to work in the hot sun. Why should they? They can sit in Sydney and melbourne, get a government job or welfare and then eat in each other’s restaurants and coffee shops.
        Is this a great nation or is it a great nation?”

        shutup flawse you dont know squat about economics, go back to your porch and wag your arm against immigrants they tek err jerbs

        most of you closet white nationalists forget in your argument that labour goes where there is the greatest demand, it would be irrational for it to go to areas where there is less demand ie rural areas. The native population in rural areas would be more impacted by immigrants than people in Sydney and Melbourne, where there are far more jobs per person than the rest of the country. This is literally the growth story of China, where people from less developed areas chased demand in city centres and made themselves more productive. So how can you complain that they are taking our jobs, but at the same time they are on welfare…

        “They can sit in Sydney and Melbourne, get a government job or welfare and then eat in each other’s restaurants and coffee shops.” Where do you get your information from? I live in Western Sydney, and everyone on the train on Friday night is coming home from a job, as opposed to my days in the north shore where I would see private school kids pissing in the train carriage after a bender. It’s not hard to compete with that

        I agree that the government should upskill the incumbent population, build infrastructure and fulfill its responsibility to its citizens, but arguing against cheaper labour for the same skill levels is like Luddites arguing against machinery for doing their jobs cheaper. Stop letting your dislike of non-Anglo people get in the way of your argument

  4. * The only genuine solution to alleviating the pressures that come from mass immigration is to drastically cut the intake and stabilise the population at a sustainable level.
    On this issue, Dick Smith’s call to reduce net migration from 200,000 to the historical average of 70,000 people is spot on.*

    I am confused : Dick Smith is an economist? Why is it that I find very few international economists actually go for the ‘smaller immigration intake’ argument, generally-speaking? Is there real evidence from economists – in terms of per capita income/output over time – that strongly support a notion that ‘above a particular bench-mark level, more immigration is detrimental to per capita income’s/output’s medium-term trends?

    • Not all population growth is created equal. If you distinguish between product and unproductive allocations of capital and resources you are much more likely to get a fatter juicier pie with bigger slices for everyone from population growth.

      Unfortunately, making such distinctions is beyond most of the members of our ‘economist’ club and we are left with the common sense insights of Dick Smith and others (including the rebirthers perhaps) who can feel rot and indolence in their bones.

      • pfh – absolutely correct. The current economic narrative is some combination of fairy tale and nightmare insanity.

    • migtronixMEMBER

      All of the Japanese economists do – you need to read more widely than the Australian

    • Still ……… no presentation of actual evidence; As for Mig’s ‘All of the Japanese economists do ” … then show me the evidence – “talking without action is no good”, mate.

      I can give you academic papers of empirical research of actual evidence that negates the theory that lesser immigration is a good thing – again, that is, = presented the links here before … Mig, you responded to them !! [ your response not helping your ’cause’ at all, I recall ]


      The issue is still also one of answering the last question of mine.


      Come-on people – Pfh007 excluded = he’s actually got it right here = matches the actual empirical outcomes/evidence!!!

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Nevertheless, few quantitative studies have examined the impact of immigration on Japanese economic growth.

        This study utilized immigration data from 1980 to 2005 every 5 years in 47

        prefectures in Japan to run regressions. Dependent variables examined in the regressions are: real GDP, real GDP pre capita and real GDP per worker. Especially the latter two models are crucial indicators to see substantial well-being of individuals in depopulation society. Declining in labor population puts downward pressure on total economic output, but it is not necessarily the case in output per capita and worker. Real GDP per capita and worker would be more important indexes to consider immigration intake rather than conventional total real GDP.

        In conclusion, the study found immigration intake in Japan had positive correlation

        with the output in all models. In the models of real GDP per capita or worker, immigration

        induces negative dilution effect on capital per capita or worker. However, positive impacts of immigration such as higher accumulative saving or complementing holes in labor markets are expected to surpass the negative effect. The study indicates potential growth by immigration intake in the future. If Japan aggressively introduces a selective migration policy for high skilled labors, the influence of immigration on the output would be higher. Yet, not only the economical aspect, also social aspects affected by immigration in distant future have to be carefully considered before accepting immigration.

      • Asking whether “lesser immigration is a good thing” is like asking whether eating less food is a good thing. There can be no meaningful answer unless we know how much food you are currently eating. If we cut to 70000 per year, we would still be one of the highest (proportional) immigration countries in the world. And, the fact that recent migrants statistically have more children than locals would provide a residual bump and smooth out the adjustment for the construction sector.

    • SchillersMEMBER

      Dr. Jane O’Sullivan is on the money. She cogently and succinctly debunks Bernard Salt’s Big Australia with evidence and sound reasoning. Her views on this topic are well worth hearing and disseminating.
      “Jane shows that the economic costs of high population growth through immigration far outweigh what Australia can afford to spend and also outweigh the falsely claimed costs of an ageing population”

    • * Why is it that I find very few international economists actually go for the ‘smaller immigration intake’ argument, generally-speaking? Is there real evidence from economists – in terms of per capita income/output over time – that strongly support a notion that ‘above a particular bench-mark level, more immigration is detrimental to per capita income’s/output’s medium-term trends? *

      • 1. Economic growth a function primarily of Population growth and Productivity growth: ” While the assumptions about the future unemployment rate may be affected by policy, the fact is that slower U.S. population growth, coupled with an aging population, place substantial limits on labor force growth, which will leave U.S. GDP growth almost entirely dependent on changes in productivity.” [ From which we correctly should deduce that population growth and productivity substantially explain economic growth; John Hussman has a PhD in Economics ]


        2. Economic growth benefits ALL : * This afternoon I’d like to focus on the important topic of long-run economic growth. I call it important because living standards, as measured by income per person, are inextricably tied to long-run growth. Over time, even small differences in growth can translate into large differences in average income per person. For example, based on Census Bureau projections of population growth, if real GDP were to grow at 2.0 percent per year over the next 20 years, instead of 2.5 percent, the difference in income at the end of that period would amount to about $7,000 per person. As Nobel Laureate Robert Lucas wrote when contemplating the questions raised by cross-country differences in per capita GDP, “Once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think about anything else.” =

        Loretta [ PhD – Economics ] above shows that economic growth benefits all, on an individual basis … on a per capita basis;

        3. Hence, higher population growth, via immigration, also, is beneficial to ALL: on an individual basis, also

      • No mig , it matters nothing about the particular country .. it’s economic FACTS ; that is, the equations provide the support for the FACT that economic growth is principally EXPLAINED by population growth and productivity growth, in an economic system; where-ever that system may be … it’s logical also. I would leave it there, if i where you, respectfully.

        I can provide further evidence that these outcomes are not country specific = it’s a generally-accepted and observed economic REALITY that economic growth, all others remaining constant, is strongly explained by population growth, economic growth over the long-term benefits all in an absolute and relative manner individually and that therefore immigration ( the ‘population growth’ part) is advantageous individually and collectively.

        Where’s your research-based evidence, mate ????

      • Ooops-I-did-it-Again

        afterbirth has got it, sorry folks.

        tch……………….. tch ……………. but I would say that ……. lol 🙂

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Mate you haven’t provided any evidence for facts, just a couple of neoliberal thought bubbles that are easily refuted by simply witnessing China and what happened AFTER population growth was SUBDUED. That’s an economic fact anyone can see just by opening a Web browser.

        I’d leave it there if I were you mate…

      • Ooops-I-did-it-Again

        Afterbirth has won, easily … but then again, the opposition was weak.

        As for China , while immigration was nil, it’s the population growth rate and productivity changes that explain growth – as Professor Hussman has stated, correctly. So, the immigration – per se – is immaterial; whether population growth is from local or from migration, is irrelevant. Lots of fundamentals appear not to have been properly considered by mig, sorry … mate

    • Hardly any nation has a higher immigration rate than AUS. So, you could say all the economists outside AUS/NZ are in favour of having a slower immigration rate than AUS.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        China. Population growth is curbed, virtually zero immigration, growth sky rockets for 2 solid decades. He’s full of shit despite his intimidation…

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Conversely, US sees massive positive immigration throughout Obama’s years – no growth.

  5. Decentralisation is only a pipe dream whilst we are running an economic model and strategy that has centralisation baked in.

    Salty and George continually ignore what is driving the population concentration beyond noting that immigrants seem to being voting with their feet.

    Their lack of curiosity is remarkable considering the traditional,driver of concentration – labour intensive manufacturing has been on decline and we have been retreating to a mineral and agricultural economy with loads of asset sales model. Not much of that particularly requires population concentration in Sydney and Melbourne.

    What has been driving population concentration in Sydney and Melbourne (particularly by immigrants) is crystal clear and it is the same thing that has bending our economy out of shape since the 1980s.

    Driving the economy with taxpayer guaranteed private bank credit creation that is directed towards unproductive speculation in asset prices and secured by those rising asset prices.

    When that is the fundamental driver of economic activity it is no surprise that the largest cities will be the centres of that activity for the simple reason that rising asset prices secure more leverage which drives asset prices higher. The cycle continues especially when the taxpayer I’d effectively the guarantor of the lending.

    While tax policy encouraged asset price speculation with debt has driven up prices right across Australia the model works best where there is also demand pressures. When there is a bit of population demand pressure the Debt Machine really roars.

    Keeping the model operating requires a high rate of immigration as maintaining real demand pressure for real estate is critical. Unproductive private bank credit creation only gets you so far – without demand pressure eventually the debt soufflé will collapse. The circa 2% vacancy rates in Sydney and Melbourne are vital ingredients.

    Immigrants are attracted to Sydney and Melbourne for 2 key reasons.

    1. To find work in any of the industries feeding off the model – real estate, finance, construction etc. Crumbs from the table will feed a family.

    2. To join in the game by taking on leverage and placing a bet themselves.

    Could we support the current levels of immigration if we were not running the current private bank unproductive credit creation asset price pumping model?

    Maybe but getting from here to there is not straight forward as first you need to address the current model so that economic activity is redirected towards productive activity rather than unproductive debt based speculation.

    And let’s face it we are not even having that conservation…yet. Until we start assessing private bank credit creation and capital inflows by reference to whether they add to the productive capacity of the economy we are still in the starting blocks.

    Even on macrobusiness such talk is often dismissed as ‘money crankery’.

    When that is done it is much more likely that we could support high population growth rates and the result would be an expansion of productive economic activity right across Australia. As that growth would not be parasitical but actually growth the pie and individual slices would be growing.

    Whether we would still be concerned about environment pressures and issues is another question but in principle we could apply more of the bigger pie to better protecting our natural heritage.

    Until we start talking about WHY our higher rates of immigration are being concentrated into the centres of Ponzi economic activity we will continue to be puzzled by the experience and find ourselves listening to the pipe dreams of Salty Bernard and Uncurious George.

    • Exactly right, and it has happened before on bigger and smaller scales, here and in other countries, many times. Talk of decentralisation today is not just a fantasy or a whimsy, it is either disingenuous distraction or the mutterings of the village idiot. Anyway weakening wages is a sure sign that a great financial speculation-construction Ponzi approaching critical condition.

    • “Driving the economy with taxpayer guaranteed private bank credit creation that is directed towards unproductive speculation in asset prices and secured by those rising asset prices.”‘
      Sorry I’m driven by a deep seated need to fix it a bit for you
      “”Driving the economy with taxpayer guaranteed private bank credit creation, derived from increased foreign debt, asset sales and our children’s future, that is directed towards unproductive speculation in asset prices and secured by those rising asset prices.””

    • Beautifully put. This requires the national narrative to change, governments to take real action to right the ship, the dethroning of a seething nest of parasites and business to get the message that the slash and burn days are gone – real innovation, value add and risk taking is back on the menu. In other words, impossible to imagine happening without the emergence of an economic version of Nelson Mandela or a massive national crisis.

    • Spot on Pfh007, spot on. I’ll stand with you as a radical on this particular topic. The privatisation of money supply leads straight to neo-feudalism.

  6. Does anyone of our elite remember the drought last decade? Wivenhoe dam was less than 20%, so Brisbane can’t support that many more people. Melbourne was also facing a pretty grim scenario and they built pipelines and a desalination plant. To top it off, Melbourne added a million more people. What is going to happen in the next drought? Run-off of water in SW Australia has plummeted since the 70s, how is Perth going to support more people? Where are the Greens on this? They don’t want dams or desalination plants, but label anyone questioning immigration on these grounds as a racist.

    • truthisfashionable

      I’ve started to wonder this too.
      In the 2005/06 drought, Goulburn, NSW actually ran out of water and needed to truck it in.

      Since then the region has increased its population by 12.5% and I can’t find anything to suggest that they have made 12.5% of improvements to their water security.

      • 4.5 Litres a flush?

        Shhhhhh – don’t tell Jacob that when he visits the giant Merino he will not get a good flush. :0

  7. Immigrants are attracted to Sydney and Melbourne for 2 key reasons.

    1. To find work in any of the industries feeding off the model – real estate, finance, construction etc. Crumbs from the table will feed a family.

    2. To join in the game by taking on leverage and placing a bet themselves.

    true, but you missed point 3- ethnic nepotism. immigrants move where their co-ethnic mates are, old mate Afghani no 26755 doesnt want to move to wagga or dubbo where theres no one like him and white racist bogans are afoot.

  8. If we’re not going to reduce immigration, Can’t we get a bit of diversity into the mix of people? If we’re going to be a multicultural country we need to put a cap on the number of Indians and Chinese.

    • that misses the point. when people say “diversity” or “multiculturalism” what they really mean is fewer white people. you could have a neighbourhood that’s 100% inhabited by saharan touaregs and it’d be “diverse” bc thered be no white people there. by contrast a neighbourhood that is perfectly evenly divided between people of different european ethnicities, such asswedes, germans, italians, french, english, irish and lithuians ,would not be diverse bc itd be all white. this is the logic.

      an immigration program with 100% chinese intake would be making australia more multicultural.. bc… apparently there arent enough chinese people here already? or something. i dont know, i dont write the script.

  9. I say we should be able to have mature and rational discussion about immigration levels.
    Sure Bernard. How about a public debate with Dick on the subject matter. I’d love to see that, as would many others.

    • I’ll be that Mr Salt thinks that anyone who disagrees with him is immature and irrational. His idea of a conversation is an echo chamber.

  10. The wife and I went for a lovely country drive from Brisbane to the Gold Coast hinterland yesterday. We were lucky enough to drive past this abomination:
    If this is the future for Brisbane living then I want no part of it. Slum of the future, 50+km from the CBD, a 337m2 block in a treeless paddock on former grazing land. Slum of the future. It does my head in. Why move somehow relatively rural and live on a 337m2 block? No public transport. No shops. Nothing.

    A scar on the earth that has been filled with cheaply construction houses.

      • i scanned over the google earth street view of it – its very similiar to the new slums that are popping up on the fringes of dubbo. very ugly, soulless neighbourhoods with houses packed bumper to bumper.

      • My wife likes to watch ‘The Block’ on TV. I’ve joined her this season in watching just so she has someone to snark at about the everything.

        Anyway that were bragging this year about ‘the biggest block ever’, and it looked huge to me. Then they say its a 2900m^2 block. 5 houses. Maybe the only appeal of the regions now would be the fact that 1000m^2 blocks aren’t so rare in regional areas.

    • I’ve got close friends live down Logan Village way so i’ve known about this coming for years (hmmm actually about 20 :(). Check out the roads for getting people in and out of this monstrosity!!! No rail lines to service it!

  11. “First, hoping for decentralisation to happen is a pipe dream.”

    Yes they need to put into place some actual regional policies to encourage it. It starts with jobs, and from current trends the settlers are unlikely to be new immigrants , but disaffected Australians being driven out of big cities by high house prices.

  12. Salt gives himself away his bias when he says we need “to let let construction industry adjust”.

    Pity the pollies didn’t allow the rest of Australia to “adjust” to a 50% higher population. They’ve done it in less than a generation, with all the disfunction, poverty, unfairness, inequality and degradation of environment and amenity that follows from a wrenching change. It’s time to let Australia adjust.

  13. 10 minutes to get to work this morning.

    So no thanks, we don’t want you fucking up our small cities and towns too.

  14. You cant distribute people more evenly round Australia, unless you distribute the work more evenly round Australia. Hell if we did that we could probably cut the immigration intake by 80%, and our kids may have a future.

    • I heard commentary the other day of a bloke who rang the police. A gang had moved on the street banging on doors of homes and being generally threatening. Bloke rings the cops and says there is a gang of Africans creating a ruckus. The very helpful police informed him that he cannot call them Africans then asked if they had a ‘dark complexion” Strewt! Just on a logical basis if you can’t describe them as Africans who gives a rats if they have ‘dark complexion” ?
      Whole point was the police were more interested in giving him a PC lecture than attending to the problem

  15. Decentralising Australia will require the following:

    1) MASSIVE investment in water. No water. No people.
    2) Government facilities. Typically military and related manufacturing/servicing.
    3) Huge investment in other infrastructure.
    4) Huge concessions to large businesses whom relocate. Especially universities.
    5) Very lax regulations and direct government concessions(like public liability or really cheap venues) on night life. Young people like partying since circa 90,000BC.

    Get the gigs, the booze, and turn a blind eye to a couple of party drugs.

    I could see decentralisation working IF the “Top 50 non-capitals” got the above. At the end of the day, it’s not old people who grow a place. It’s young, fun loving kids who stick around.

    Get them there. Train them there. Let them *LIVE* there. Employ them there.

    • change the party in #4 to incentivise individuals, business will follow. Give people 10 cents off their marginal tax rate for 10 years if they relocate to specific post codes. Ideally target an increase in the Bendigo/Geelong/Wollongong/Newcastle/Dubbo/Orange/Bairnsdale/Albury etc. Fund this by reducing or ceasing some of the big white elephant infrastructure projects no longer needed.

      • Don’t do Wollongong, way too close to Sydney to risk. You’d have long distance commuters overnight.

    • Govt doesn’t understand the “Golden Rule”. He who has the gold, makes the rules. If it were me, I would’ve decentralised the universities a decade ago ….

      UNSW -> Goulburn
      Macquarie Uni -> Port Macquarie (potentially save on stationery)
      UTS -> Bowral

      + half of Sydney uni relocated around the State. Just put a cap on student places that the Govt is funding in the cities and watch the chancellors move for the CA$H.

  16. HadronCollision

    Isn’t it informative that the likes of Salt completely ignore Smith’s economic, environmental and liveability rationale and twist this into a “but but but migrants have been great” argument.

    Which is not what Smith is saying.

    Dick needs some savvy Gruen types onboard ASAP to put the brakes on that line of attack

  17. If this keeps going we will be decentralised via the brute force of house prices and the ugliness of Sydney and Melbourne.

  18. I hear Kununurra is looking for residents … it’s a little isolated but has its own charm. Perhaps not initially, but foreigners will learn to love it in time. Besides which, they are lacking both an Indian and Chinese restaurant at the moment.

  19. Salt is full of shite, regional migration doesn’t work. Immigration has had a program offering easier residency for migrants willing to settle in regional areas. It doesn’t work. If Salt’s going to talk shite then so can I. Let’s bring in the Chinese “hukou” system to force people to live outside the major capitals. We could up the numbers of transit police to guard the rail and bus terminals and create state employed border police. Then when they complain about no jobs, we could make them serfs tied to the land. Then we could grant them citizenship only after 10 years of compliant serfdom. We get people to pick crops and more room in the cities….win win win