Grattan turns mass immigration propaganda outfit

By Leith van Onselen

In 2014, the Grattan Institute published a report entitled Mapping Australia’s economy: cities as engines of prosperity, which mapped the Australian economy by the location of economic activity, defined as the dollar value of goods and services produced by workers within a particular area.

A central conclusion of this report was that “cities are the engines of economic prosperity” and that “too many workers live too far away to fulfil our cities’ economic potential”. Grattan was also concerned by the level of sprawl, which was supposedly making it harder for residents to access cushy CBD jobs:

If current settings remain unchanged, Australian cities are likely to continue to spread outwards, further increasing the distance between where many people live and the most productive parts of large cities, with implications for both productivity and opportunity.

Around the same time, Grattan released a book entitled City Limits, which argued that Australia’s cities had become dysfunctional with workers increasingly separated from employment:

The divide between where people live and work in Australian cities is growing, with most new jobs being created close to city centres while most population growth is occurring in the outer suburbs…

The distance between where people live and where they work is growing fast. The housing market isn’t working, locking many Australians out of where and how they’d like to live. The daily commute is getting longer, putting pressure on social and family life and driving up living costs…

In large outer areas of Australia’s biggest cities, less than 10 per cent of all jobs in the city can be reached in a 45-minute drive…

One in four full-time employees in Australia’s big cities spends more time commuting than with their children.

However, being staunch defenders of the ‘Big Australia’ mass immigration policy, Grattan has suddenly changed its tune, releasing a new report entitled “The myth of the bulging, out of control Australian city”. Now workers in our major cities are apparently no longer having difficulty getting to work amid break-neck growth:

Australia’s urban commuters have little to fear from population growth, if recent experience is any guide. Contrary to frequent media reports, the population boom has had little impact on commuting.

The average commute distances and times barely increased over the five years to 2016, even as Sydney and Melbourne’s populations grew at rates among the highest in the developed world…

The benign impact of population growth is partly explained by the spread of jobs within the major cities. It’s a misconception that jobs are centred in CBDs, which become harder to get to as cities grow. In reality, fewer than two in ten people work in CBDs, whereas three in ten work in a suburb just away from home…

Migration has not brought cities to a standstill. Cities have coped even though major new projects including Melbourne Metro, WestConnex in Sydney, and Brisbane’s Cross River Rail have not yet been completed.

People adapt – they are not hapless victims of population growth, depending for their wellbeing on governments building the next freeway or rail extension.

Quite a change in rhetoric, isn’t it?

Sadly for Grattan, the evidence does show rising congestion costs in the migrant hotspots of Sydney and Melbourne. Here’s TomTom’s traffic index:

Here’s the Bureau of Transport and Regional Economics (BTRE):

Along with Mike Seccombe’s explanation 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.

And here’s Infrastructure Australia’s projections for Sydney and Melbourne, whereby congestion is projected to soar and access to jobs, schools, hospitals and open space will all decline by 2046, irrespective of how these cities build-out to cope with populations of 7.4 million and 7.3 million people respectively:

Grattan can’t polish this turd.

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  1. I think it’s all getting a bit too real for the commentariat. The anti-immigration, anti-bank backlash started as a fringe opinion and is now a political movement. They are falling over themselves trying to un-ring those bells

  2. Grattan Institute has never even heard of the Current Account! I can never understand why they are quoted as any sort of source. Morons!
    They just assume we can go on accumulating more debt and selling off key and strategic assets to foreigners forever.

    • Too right. As the Turks have discovered there is no such thing as a perpetual motion economy!

  3. It’s not just delays in commuting that count. People on average wages can no longer afford to live in Sydney. Many nurses, policemen and contract teachers commute into Sydney from the Central Coast or Newcastle every day.

    Society relies on these people to function, but they can no longer afford to live in the society that they serve.

  4. Here is Victoria’s Tourism Commercial 2021.

    Seems like Punt Road is getting less congested by the day, Tulla is almost empty, same with the Eastern, Calder, Westgate and Princes are verging on empty.

    Dunno why people would ever think a city overwhelmed by lack of infrastructure and massive congestion in 2008 would be worse off a decade later with an extra 25% of population rammed in.

    PS – Victoria planning department has stated that 75% of Melbournes increase in population will come from infill to 2050.

    So, basically – that new loop rail will carry 4 million people during peak hour in each direction dealing with the skyscrapers from the CBD to Warrandyte – since they are already in Doncaster.

  5. They just make themselves look dumb. Pump people inro the road system and it’s not the increased flow. It deserves no oxygen.

  6. There are 3 simple factors to consider in the migrant overshoot & social / congestion impact.

    1. The number of migrant guestworkers (non citizens & non PR) onshore in Australia is now 2.7 million – which is 143% of the last decades PR & citizen grant 1.91 million intake.

    2. None of this 2.7 million additional migrant guestworker intake was factored into the cities capacity to house them, transport or infrastructure, social or job impact, traffic etc.

    3. They are permanent, very long, long stay.

    They occupy at least 550,000 dwellings, mostly in Sydney & Melbourne.

    They drive at least 380,000 cars. Same again.

    They consume some 2.1 million FTE jobs albeit a number of jobs per individual, often under fake ID or cash in hand with at least 1.6 million of these migrant guestworkers in visa breach in working illegally.

    In very simple terms : for every 2 new PR/Citizen Grants we have almost 3 Temporary Resident, Tourist Visitor Working Illegals & Overstayers.

    Every 2 PR/new citizens on the train bus or tram ?
    There will be 3 migrant guestworkers on a TR, as a TVWI (tourist visitor working illegally) or an Overstayer.

    🔹 1 in every 4 people in Sydney.
    🔹 1 in every 5 people in Melbourne.


    Of the 2.7 million migrant guestworkers:
    2.2 million are Temporary Residents,
    440,000 Tourist Visitors Working Illegally.
    65.000 Overstayers.

    86% or 2.3 million are in Sydney or Melbourne.
    1.3 million in Sydney pop 5.3 million.
    ➡️ 1 in 4 people.
    1 million of Melbourne pop of 5 million.
    ➡️ 1 in 5 people.

    Duration of stay.
    They are permanent stay (650,000 NZ SCV of which 230,000 are non NZ born, 95% one way flow into Australia via the NZ back door with another 190,000 queued up in NZ waiting their turn). Yes some NZ born go back offset by the Chinese & Indians waiting in the NZ transit lounge to get into Australia. The non NZ born SCV ratio has gone from 8% to now 34%.

    Or very long stay – 670,000 foreign students & partners on a spray of visa pretexts & rackets (not all are primary & not all are on just the international student visa category). Average stay with visa churn is 4 to almost 9 years,, even if they don’t get a PR.

    165,000 long stay bridging visas (2 to 3 years bridging visas with a range of extensions & appeals is normal)

    150,000 skilled visas of which only 70,000 are primary and only 11,000 actually uniquely skilled.

    130,000 working holiday, heavily rorted in visa extensions & new visa churn.

    35,000 special visas & so on.
    And so on.
    Permanent stay, very long stay, long stay.

    Then add on the 440,000 Tourist Visitors Working Illegally (5% of the 8.8 million was the ABF estimate – mostly Chinese, South East Asian, Middle East or Indian etc tourist / visitors – many multiple & repeat stay. Not staying in hotels. With ‘friends or relatives’
    And then add on 65,000 Overstayers – obviously long stay.

    That’s 2.7 million that never went into any housing demand, transport planning, social & community infrastructure.
    That’s 14.5 years of the last decade net PR/Citizen grant intake ON TOP.
    That’s 1.6 million working illegally.
    That’s a $133 billion migrant guestworker onshore sub economy.
    Of which $70 billion is illegal, fake ID, cash in hand.
    That’s 550,000 dwellings (2.7 million / 5 each) mostly modest ex Australian units & small houses now foreign owned to run the $25 billion migrant guestworker sublet cash in hand bunk & room share racket with only $12 billion declared (legal occupancy).

    Where do people think they all live?
    We have whole suburbs in Sydney that are now majority migrant guestworkers.
    Not new PR / Citizen migrants.

    And no one planned for this huge wave on top of our already high PR/Citizen grant migrant intake.
    As said – at least 1.6 million are in visa breach, work illegally, should never have been allowed in.
    Want a solution to housing prices, migrant squalor, wages loss, job theft, congestion & overload?

    Exit the 1.6 mliion migrant guestworkers in visa breach – who should never have been allowed in.

  7. And is it any wonder?

    In April 2008, Commonwealth and Victorian Governments announced matching funding, along with support in kind from the University of Melbourne. Commitments followed soon after from BHP Billiton and National Australia Bank. Grattan receives money from its endowment supporters and affiliates, which include The Myer Foundation, National Australia Bank, Susan McKinnon Foundation, Medibank Private, Susan McKinnon Foundation, Google, Maddocks, PwC, McKinsey & Company, The Scanlon Foundation, Wesfarmers, Ashurst, Corrs, Deloitte, GE ANZ, Jemena, Urbis, Westpac and Woodside. The Higher Education Program was established with funding from the Myer Foundation.[4]

    • Spot on. Business wants high immigration. They’re insulated from the congestion in their heritage protected expensive inner city suburbs. We really are in a twilight zone in Australia. All the commenters are either putting political corectness ahead of the facts or partisan pushing their own interests.