The lobby group representing migration agents has warned that South Australia’s population growth could fall to zero following visa reforms by the federal government. From The Advertiser:
Immigration experts are warning that the state’s population growth could slow to wards zero per cent and economic problems will worsen if changes to federal visa rules lead to a drop in the number of temporary and permanent migrants moving to SA.
Almost 6400 more people moved interstate than arrived in SA in 2015-16, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics “net migration” figures. The situation has deteriorated since 2006-007, when SA lost about 3400 more residents to other states than it gained.
In net terms, SA gained 9000 new residents from overseas in 2015-16.
Former Migration Institute state president Mark Glazbrook said SA had become dependent on overseas arrivals for population growth but this was being put at risk by policy changes.
“Births and deaths and net interstate migration equal about zero [population growth],’’ Mr Glazbrook said.
“So we are entirely reliant on migration for all of our population growth. Within the migration industry it’s anticipated that migration outcomes will fall to about 5000 people per year over the next two or three years.”
Mr Glazbrook said planned changes to some visa categories would make it difficult for employers to hire workers from overseas. International students could be discouraged from coming to Australia by restrictions on obtaining work visas after they completed their studies.
A State Government spokeswoman said state authorities were in discussions with the Federal Government to ensure the state could access skilled migrants to help employers fill job vacancies.
Here’s the chart of South Australia’s population growth:
And here’s the chart of South Australia’s labour underutilisation rate (i.e. unemployment and underemployment combined):
With South Australia’s labour underutilisation running at 16% – nearly 2% above the national average – where is the sense in adding to labour supply via immigration, while also placing strains on infrastructure and housing?
Thankfully, South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill, has to date rejected the Migration Institute’s special pleadings. From In Daily:
Weatherill made a virtue of the state’s rate of population growth, pointing out that while it is low compared to other states, it is relatively high by international standards.
“In South Australia over the last five years, during the Census period 2011 to 2016, (we) grew at five per cent,” he said. “That’s faster than France, it’s faster than the UK, it’s faster than the US. So in international terms population growth has been quite robust.
“In international terms, (we are) growing like a chemistry experiment. We are growing at twice the rate of the growth of the OECD, three times the rate of the growth of many countries around the world.”
When challenged about the state’s decline in population growth relative to other Australian states, he said: “We’re not running a high population growth strategy.”
“Look if you want to spend an hour and a half in traffic or spend over a million dollars for a home and actually deal with the crime and the dysfunction and the disunity that occurs in some of those other fast-growing places you’re welcome to it, but we like it here.”
Well done Jay Weatherill in putting ordinary residents’ living standards and sustainability ahead of the growth lobby. We could do with you in Victoria and New South Wales, where the growth lobby runs the show and living standards are unambiguously being crush-loaded.