As Australia’s population hits 25 million later today, it’s time to reflect.
Twenty years ago, in 1998, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) forecast that Australia’s population would hit between 23.5 and 26.4 million by the year 2051.
At the time, the ABS incorrectly assumed fertility rates would decline and, most importantly, that net overseas migration (NOM) would remain at 90,000, rather than the 240,000 currently:
Ever since that initial forecast 20 years ago, Australia’s population forecasts have been continually revised upwards as well as overshot.
As noted by Bernard Salt over the weekend:
Every edition of these projections since 1998 has upped the mid-century outlook for our nation. The present medium projection delivers 38 million by 2050 and 44 million by century’s end. At the start of this century the projections for 2050 indicated only 25 million. We’ve upped the outlook by 13 million in two decades.
On top of escalating population growth, driven by mass immigration, Australia’s population growth has become more concentrated than ever into our major cities.
The 2016 Census revealed that 86% of new migrants (1.11 million) in the five years to 2016 settled in Australia’s cities, versus just 14% (187,000) that settled in Australia regional areas over the same period.
As noted by the ABS:
In 2016, Sydney had the highest overseas-born population of all capital cities (1,773,496), followed by Melbourne (1,520,253) and Perth (702,545). The 2016 Census also reveals that those born overseas were more likely to live in a capital city (83%), a much higher percentage than people born in Australia.
This trend has since intensified, with just 6% of migrants settling in Australia’s regions in 2017-18, according to the Department of Home Affairs.
The end result of Australia’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy is hiding in plain sight.
As population growth into our key migrant hotspots of Sydney and Melbourne has ballooned:
Traffic congestion has unambiguously worsened:
Worse, “avoidable social costs” of congestion are projected by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics to soar as rampant population growth continues to overrun our cities’ infrastructure:
As noted recently by Mike Seccombe in the Saturday Paper:
The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics estimates the “avoidable” social costs of traffic congestion in the eight Australian capitals cities. They reckoned it to total $16.5 billion in the 2015 financial year, up from $12.8 billion in the 2010 financial year. By 2030, they forecast, the cost of congestion would rise to between $27.7 billion and $37.3 billion. That is roughly the cost of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, fully implemented.
Australians living in our two major cities have also been forced to live in smaller and more expensive housing, as the population deluge has not only lifted demand, but also forced greater density (e.g. high-rise apartments):
Living standards have unambiguously been crushed – a situation that Infrastructure Australia projects will deteriorate under every build-out as Sydney’s and Melbourne’s populations balloon to 7.4 million and 7.3 million respectively by 2046, with traffic congestion to worsen further, as well as reduced access to jobs, school, hospitals and green space:
At no time have Australians been asked whether they wanted the nation’s immigration intake, and by extension, population growth to increase, nor remain at current turbo-charged levels. Instead, mass immigration has been forced down their throats by our policy makers, all in the name of ‘growth’ and to fatten the wallets of big business.
This comes despite mass immigration having a direct impact on quality of life, as well as growing community resistance. Indeed, the five most recent opinion polls have all showed overwhelming voter support for lower levels of immigration:
- Australian Population Research Institute: 54% want lower immigration;
- Newspoll: 56% want lower immigration;
- Essential: 54% believe Australia’s population is growing too fast and 64% believe immigration is too high;
- Lowy: 54% of people think the total number of migrants coming to Australia each year is too high; and
- Newspoll: 74% of voters support the Turnbull government’s cut of more than 10% to the annual permanent migrant intake to 163,000 last financial year.
Instead of blindly continuing down the path of a ‘Big Australia’, it’s time to hold a plebiscite at the upcoming federal election to seek voters’ preferences about the nation’s future population size, the answers of which would then be used to formulate Australia’s immigration intake to meet the said target.
Here is an example of the type of question that could be taken directly to the Australian people via plebiscite:
Australia’s population is currently 25 million. Under zero net overseas migration (NOM), it is projected to reach 27 million by 2060.
By 2060, do you believe Australia’s population should be:
- 27 million;
- 30 million;
- 35 million;
- 40 million;
- 45 million?
Obviously, there is room to move on the language and the chart should be updated to show the level of NOM corresponding to the choices, but you get the idea.
The important thing is that Australian’s views are sought directly, and this consensus is then used to formulate a national population policy.
Our living standards are at stake.