Population ponziteers fight to hold back Sydney immigration angst

By Leith van Onselen

7 News ran an excellent segment (above) on the growing backlash over Sydney’s rapid population growth. The segment touches on some of the major issues, including over-development (e.g. the proliferation of high-rise apartments), and pins the blame squarely on the federal government’s 200,000 strong mass immigration program.

As usual, representatives from the pro-growth, pro-development lobby make an appearance, desperately trying to sway the conversation in their favour.

Here’s Chris Johnson from the Urban Taskforce Australia:

“We must start moving into a more urban city with greater densities like London, like New York, like most of the big cities when you get to that level”.

And here’s fake demographer, Mark McCrindle, arguing that growth is unstoppable:

“We can’t stop the growth. Sydney is the gateway to Australia. We are growing through national migration. We are growing through natural increase”.

“Growing through national migration… growing through natural increase”. Really? Because the ABS’ population data states otherwise, clearly showing that net overseas migration is the overwhelming driver of NSW’s (Sydney’s) population increase:

In fact, according to the NSW Government’s own population projections, Sydney’s projected population increase over the next 20-years (i.e. 1.74 million people at 87,000 people per year) will be driven almost entirely by net overseas migration (i.e. 1.53 million or 77,000 people a year):

What these growth lobby spruikers fail to acknowledge is that it is a direct policy choice how big and crowded Australia, and by extension Sydney, becomes.

If the federal government maintains our current mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ settings, then Australia’s population would hit more than 40 million mid-century, and Sydney’s population would hit some 8 million. But if the federal government slashes the intake back to the historical average of 70,000 people a year – as advocated by Dick Smith, Sustainable Australia, and MB – then Australia’s population would hit around 32 million people mid-century, with Sydney’s population hitting between 6 million and 6.5 million people.

Sydneysiders have spoken. They don’t want the city turning into a crowded, expensive, high-rise hellhole. It’s about time our politicians recognised this reality and represented their wishes by slashing Australia’s permanent migrant intake back to sensible and sustainable levels.

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Unconventional Economist


  1. And the Urban Taskforce boldly states that its all about:

    “Advocacy on behalf of property developers, equity financiers and those in the wider community who enjoy the benefits of new and renewed urban communities.”

    And Chris Johnson is:

    “…a former NSW Government Architect and former Executive Director at the NSW Department of Planning. He has extensive experience in the planning system and the delivery of major projects.”

    In other words someone from government who has jumped ship and attached himself to the developer’s teat – i.e. property developers and equity financiers…

    So we have to ask why fake demographers and people with their snouts in the trough get so much air time? How about asking the public how they feel about Vampire-esk Mark and and Tomato-faced Chris lining their pockets while our urban centres become the sort of hell holes that there opportunists make a killing from?

    • In other words someone from government who has jumped ship and attached himself to the developer’s teat – i.e. property developers and equity financiers…

      Not to mention likely responsible for Sydney’s current planning mess.

  2. He does not need to. The bogans will keep voting for the same 2 political parties over and over again.

    • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

      If that’s the case Jay,…then why not join one and try to change it from within?

      There is a democratic structure in both the 2 main parties and the current self interested leaderships can be challenged, but like all things Democratic,…your required to “have the Numbers” on your side.

      New parties are all good and well and SAP may well get my senate vote,…to send a message, no doubt many here will do the same,…but unless you swing,… what,…at least a couple of million voters? your way, it’s still going to be Labor or NLP who rule.

      The ALP only has 53,000 members.
      A “Movement” of a similar number of people,… joining the Party,… would be enough to completely transform it’s leadership and direction,…and best of all, would really grate those Careeist Apparatchiks who run the show now.

      A hell of a lot less “momentum” is required to bring about this kind of change,… within current structures,… than trying to build an entirely new Political party from the ground up.



      • You are always pushing this but it’s not realistic, the democratic processes within the parties mirror the democratic process of electing government and how is that working out for us.
        Do you really think you can sway the direction of the party? The political process is what leads to the outcomes we get, many people enter politics with the best of intentions I’m sure, but the reality is that funding is what wins elections and this is one of the reasons why the alternative parties never get anywhere because they are not providing policies that entities with money want to support, and this will cripple any real attempt at change.
        If Peter Garrett couldn’t change the party from the top, what chance do you think an unorganised group has from the bottom?

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        Sure,…Peter Garrett may be a “Great Guy”,bjw,…but he’s not a Movement.
        A Movement requires a ground swell of common people participating, demanding to be heard, collectively, in association with eachother.
        There is not going to be any “Great leader” or “Team” who will “save us”,…we have to do it our selves,…if we don’t then increasing Plutocracy is the future for us all,…if your not going to participate,…why complain?
        Turning up on Election day every so many years isn’t good enough.

        We are not just throwing away decent representation for our selves, by not actively participating, we are also throwing away Democracy itself,…after that, we really are going to be getting it in the Arse,…we haven’t seen nothin yet!
        All these “Free trade agreements”, Privatisations, De Regulations,….all mostly negotiated behind closed doors, secretly, unaccountably,… all designed to circumvent Democracy and concentrate the POWER to make REAL decisions into the hands of a self serving elite.

        At the footy,…Noisy sledging and cheering from the side lines, has never scored a single goal.

      • “all designed to circumvent Democracy and concentrate the POWER to make REAL decisions into the hands of a self serving elite.”
        This is a fairly accurate description of the westminster system of government, it’s just missing out on ” while providing the illusion of choice to the population”

        The system as currently set up can only be controlled by a ‘ “Great leader” or “Team” ‘
        Without that you can’t achieve anything.

      • Commoners joining causes gives legitimacy for the cause. If commoners had not been so quick to jump on every bandwagon that came along, they might’ve realised sooner that border wars on the behalf of some Duke or something was fucking stupid and gave no returns to the peasants.

        The Labor party doesn’t need labourers, that just lets them put up the front a bit longer. The sooner labourers abandon the party, the sooner it will become starved for legitimacy. How many in Labor’s current shadow cabinet will have ever actually worked a job alongside 30 other people doing the same thing for the same pay and at risk of all 30 being sacked simultaneously?

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        “The system as currently set up can only be controlled by a ‘ “Great leader” or “Team” ‘
        Without that you can’t achieve anything.”

        Sure, ya need a figure head/leader and areas of responsibilities to be delegated out to competent people,…but what/who should guide and direct such Team members and their “leader”?
        Should it be their own self interest and Careeist ambitions? as is the current case.
        Or should it be the party rank and file, through Democratic oversight running the show, bearing witness and judging and censureing said “Leadership” when required?..this is how I think it should be.

        The Membership CAN change the current status quo if they start to demand it.
        People like me and you bjw, can make a difference,…but not by ourselves,…in the case of the Labor Party, I think you’d need around 30 to 50,000 of us, to completely turn it around, a lot less than you’d need to get a new party of the ground.

        “while providing the illusion of choice to the population”
        This seems like an argument to join a party and demand better, to me.

        “There is no final victory, and no final defeat and every generation has to fight the same battles.” So says Tony Benn and I agree with him,…I talk Politics to my 7 and 9 year old all the time.

        Many here talk of the need for Revolution or War! to reset our current grubby Status quo, but such talk is ridiculous before exhausting all the possibilities of reform that exist,….but,…sigh,…that requires Commitment, Participation and hard work,…most people prefer to stay home and Masterbate to online porn.

      • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elective_dictatorship

        Of course, the one time the Liberal Democrats got close to actually changing the system (after the 2010 election) Nick Clegg threw it all away in return for the chance to be Deputy Prime Minister for 5 years.

        As they get ever closer to real power, protest parties begin to suffer from adverse selection and are taken over by the megalomaniacs who crave dominion over other human beings. The Australian Greens are in the process of going through their own “Night of the Long Knives” at the moment.

      • You can’t change the ALP or LNP by trying to flood their membership with new people. These parties are far too beholden to vested business interests and rotten to the core. If you can manage to enrol 50000 new members in a new party, you can have a far greater impact on legislation because you can force these tired old parties to the negotiating table. Besides, a new party/movement can fully embrace a full agenda for change that one of these old parties never can; at best they might accept change on the edges but no fundamental change.

  3. I fear you are correct Mr Greater Toilet Water Capacity. Average punter is just plain brain dead.

  4. A scam run by RE agents is to quote asking price for rental properties as opposed to actual rent being paid. Often times, the difference is quiet large. The asking price (as opposed to the actual price being paid) is used in all online listings for property and is used to justify rent increases for surrounding “similar” properties.
    Example: 1 bed asking price $520/week. Actual rent (negotiated) is $485. All online listings for property show $520. That $520 is then used by RE agents to justify rent increases of “similar” properties in the area. Shouldn’t this practice be illegal?

    • As long as it rips people off nothing is illegal. It’s enterpreneurial and just allows moms and dads investors to get ahead. As long as people agree to pay it will go ahead. Once we start to see bigger tent cities and favelas popping on the outskirts of Sydney and Melbourne we will know the end is near. Unless China, which is very likely, pops this bubble for us.

    • This is Ostrya mate …. in RE anything goes and the “agents” (for whom I wonder) play the game like NZ forwards – offside and usually behind the refs back

    • From today’s AFR:

      Sydney rents are coming down
      “”Every apartment open I’ve been to over the last month, I’ve asked whether the price is negotiable. Every response from agents has been ‘Yes, put in an offer and we will review with the landlord’,” she said.”

      • and that negotiated price never makes it to the official figures used in the rental market. An inflated ask price is set by RE agents and that’s used to maintain a high plateau on rental prices because the actual rent is never disclosed. Imagine if the stock market operated this way!!!! this is beyond ridiculous and I am surprised such a fraudulent practice has not been exposed.

      • Rents here in Newcastle seem to be coming down too.. This is just from observing asking rents on listings dropping in different suburbs over the last few weeks.

    • No! Why should it be illegal for investors and landlords to make a buck off their crap rentals. After all if they’re recent investors they’re probably paying through the nose to the bank so it’s only fair & this is australia.

      • Careful with the terminology.. Investors imply markets.. This is not a market if the price is being set and controlled by one party.. After all ours is not a command economy.. or is it??

      • Would have been nice to be able to link bond submissions to a particular property..
        The inflated asking price remains the only official (public) record of the rent for the property.. the property I mentioned earlier was advertised for $520 back in 2014 and was rented for $485. If you look online on property websites (today), you see only $520 (even though today, after 3 years and despite rental increases, it’s still being rented for less than $520). When RE agents create reports to compare listings and suggest rent increases they are using the public data and not the actual data. This makes me very suspicious of all reports related to rental properties in Australia.

    • Good points 2big2fail. Those ask prices are then referred to as ‘market rates’, as in x rental increase ‘inline with market rates’.
      ‘Imagine if the stock market operated this way’
      Imagine if the real estate ‘investments’ were regulated similarly to the stock market.

  5. Crindle may have been a victim of the editing process.

    He seems to get it right on his blog.

    “..Net Overseas Migration the biggest growth factor

    The biggest growth factor that has blown out previous population modelling has been the rise and rise of Australia’s net overseas migration. In 1998 it was thought that it would grow our population annually by around 70,00, or at the most, 90,000. In the last 12 months, Australia has added 231,900 through net migration which is more than 2.5 times even the high-forecast of two decades ago…”

    “…Lessons to be learnt

    The lesson for policy makers, urban planners and governments alike, is to keep a close eye on the population forecasts and plan early for the growth that is being experienced so that our cities are not left short of infrastructure. While population growth can’t realistically be stopped, it must be better planned for and managed to ensure the Australian lifestyle continues. And when in doubt, assume the higher growth forecasts not the lower ones. I’m yet to see an Australian population forecast that needs adjusting down….”


    Though he misses the bit about ….if you cannot handle high population growth ..for whatever reason..stop it.

      • It would be interesting to get him to explain exactly what he is referring to when he says

        “….population growth can’t realistically be stopped…”

        That seems to be a standard unquestioned assumption for many but it is not clear why when we have had a series of governments who go to great lengths demonstrate that “we decide who comes….”. The ability to control our borders is hardly a real issue so what is he referring to?

        Perhaps I will ask him!



  6. They don’t want the city turning into a crowded, expensive, high-rise hellhole.
    but but but …. Isn’t that what Sydney is today?

    • Sydneysiders have spoken. They don’t want the city turning into a crowded, expensive, high-rise hellhole.

      Failed to say: “only if it will not affect RE prices”.

    • “Sydneysiders have spoken”?

      You are lowly scum, who are you to speak to your lords and masters? Start “donating” lots of money to your “leaders”, maybe you’ll get a seat at the table. Until then you will take skykennels and streets too narrow to fit garbage trucks down, and you will be pleased to have them. Plus questioning immigration is RACIST!

  7. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Why do youse permanegs refuse to see the great benefits we get from a booming and more diverse population? The biggest one of all is that a booming population helps bring about booming house prices which is brilliant for the economy thanks to the wealth effect it creates and everyone benefits from wealth!

    • and, as you explained yesterday, the already awesome areas do not NEED any more vibrancy.

      after all this time, you can still surprise and delight me

    • If everyone had vibrancy like the rich areas of town (leafy suburbs, kids playing in backyards vs skykennels and kids crammed 14 into a bedroom), that wouldn’t be diversity, enriching our city.

  8. Re Housing: Found data:
    2016 ‘Involuntary Part Time (PT) Workers’ – Top 6 Countries -Thousands [OECD.stat]
    US. ___ ___ 633k. ___ 0.2%. ___49yr
    UK. ____ ___281k ___ 0.4%. ___51yr
    JAPAN. ___ 300k. ___ 0.2%. ___54yr
    (fastest growth)._ 362k. ___ 1.5%. ___53yr (will be fastest falls)
    FRANCE. _____ 265k. ___ 0.4%. ____52yr
    CANADA______ 214k. ___ 0.6%. ____52yr

  9. I’m doing my bit whenever someone complains on the local community forum, making it clear that rapid population growth is to blame for the mess we are in now.

      • Mining BoganMEMBER

        And why not? I got called a racist just for riding my pedally thing. Surely this Michael chap questioning reusa’s vibrancy would have swastikas tattooed on his shaved bonce.

        In other news, reusa now comes up as suggested spelling on my phone. That’s how far the vibrancy has spread.

  10. He states “We must”, Why must we? We have many other potential areas which could do with more population growth with plenty of room to grow, why cram Sydney to death?

    Oh you don’t want to create infrastructure to support all these people, ahh that will eat into your profits. Ahh ok, then we “must” cram everyone into sydney.

    Just sheer greed.

  11. The pessimist I am, isn’t it all too late now even if population growth is curbed? Going into the city for work during the week or driving around greater Sydney on the weekends, all I can think is that we have already gone past the point of no return.The city has now changed forever unless there is a big purge of residents.

    The roads and suburbs are choked of people, people in general are more greedy and selfish, let alone rude and entitled. We now have developments that should never of been built. We are all stuck with this now. Even if population growth is curtailed, we have still lost.

    • @powermonger
      I agree that the ship has already sailed. It left the dick in 1996 2003 2008
      Each time it returned to shore it was overloaded with non paying passengers. Methaphoricalky speaking. I am not talking about 28000 legitimate refugees however that is decided.

    • Sydney is rooted. ‘They’ have won. Luckily most of the new immigrants don’t surf. And EP give it a rest … no one wants to join the Labor Party. Why would they?

      ‘Change within’ you say. No chance. Maybe in 10 years when Sydney and Melbourne is beyond rooted the electorate might really care and a revolt occurs.

  12. EP. So say many, many thousands signed up with the ALP today. What would that do? Would it directly pressure them to revert to social democracy and away from neoliberalism and identity politics? ‘They’ will just shut down any new troublemakers to their ideology.

    I think if things got really bad here a revolt is very likely. But I agree this seems unlikely. I have no answer and do admire your persistence.

    Name me one genuinely good Labor policy.

  13. “Sydneysiders have spoken …”

    Who cares, the only voices that matter are Harry Highrise and those connected with the FIRE lobby/sector. Money talks, bullsh#t walks.

  14. Seems to be a growing sympathy with the “conspiracy theorists” (critical thinkers) and this globalist/new world order agenda.