Sydney’s wealthy elites are migrant NIMBYs

As we already know, Sydney is a primary entry point for migrants:

And Western Sydney is the prime dumping ground for these migrants:

With Western Sydney also projected to receive the lion’s share future immigration-driven population growth – i.e. an additional 1.2 million people over the next 20 years, according to the Greater Sydney Commission:

Future Sydney residents are also projected to be squeezed into high-rise dog box apartments, according to projections from the Urban Development Institute of Australia:

Back in July, the head of the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC), Lucy Turnbull, outlined an “exciting” future for Western Sydney, which involves being crush-loaded with another 1.2 million people:

GSC’s chief commissioner Lucy Turnbull… said places such as Parramatta and Bankstown represented the “future of Sydney and Australia” with a youthful and diverse population making them “exciting” corners of the wider city…. “1.2 million people in western Sydney in the next 20 years is a reasonable forecast”…

And this proclamation by Lucy Turnbull came despite new figures showing that Western Sydney is already suffering from severe disadvantage:

Western Sydney can seem a world away from the wealthier, eastern side of the city… “As much as we are strong advocates of western Sydney, we need to be realistic that too many times we are on the wrong side of that line. In terms of per capita lower incomes, below average NAPLAN results and school attendance, higher unemployment and higher rates of preventable disease and hospital admissions” [Christopher Brown, Chairman of the Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, said].

“Western Sydney is the diabetes capital of the country,” he said. “There are also higher rates of domestic violence which is the shameful secret of western Sydney”.

Around the same time it was reported that Sydney’s wealthy elites living in the East have put up walls to keep the migrant riff-raff out:

The beautiful suburb that provides homes for many of the men and women who run the Australian economy is fighting for over-priced cherries, tomatoes and avocados…

Now Tony Abbott has been dispatched from public life, the Mosman peninsula on Sydney’s lower north shore has shifted focus. Not to the problems of low wages growth, housing affordability or Indigenous recognition. But the horror of a Woolworths…

With the aid of a professional public relations firm, a local pressure group, Mosman Village Community, is leading a fight against a Woolworths outlet, which it argues will increase traffic and drive artisan shops broke. About 1500 residents have signed up for the campaign…

“This is one of the few remaining village-type high streets in Sydney,” says Colin Gunn, a spokesman for the group. “A major shopping centre would change the nature of the village.”

Underlying the opposition is a form of retail snobbery and resentment towards outsiders…

At the same time, the council is seeking community input on its long-term plan for the suburb, which keeps its population low and prices high by limiting housing growth.

It appears they have won, with Woolworth’s downgrading its plans for a store in Mosman Village:

Next year, Woolworths is expected to submit plans for a small outlet on Military Road, the suburb’s main road artery, that would replace a noodle restaurant and a clothing shop.

The company dropped plans for a full-sized store a few months ago after they were rejected by Mosman Council, which came under pressure from a vigorous local campaign aided by a professional public relations firm.

One of the main opposition figures is economic geographer John Wakefield, who lives in Mosman despite being a councillor in Waverley, a district on the other side of Sydney Harbour…

The dispute is the talk of the suburb, the eighth-richest in Australia, according to the tax office…

A writer on the Mosman Village Community website, Claire, recently said she didn’t want Mosman to be similar to Newtown, a lively bohemian suburb on the other side of the city…

[Resident] Michael said he didn’t trust the shopping giant. At some point in the future it would seek to expand the store upwards and sideways, he said, creating a full-size supermarket like those that exist in less wealthy suburbs all over Australia.

“Mosman residents have got a history of stopping things they don’t like,” he said.

As shown in the chart above, Mosman’s projected population growth is the second lowest in Sydney behind Lucy Turnbull’s wealthy enclave of Woollahra.

So basically, the GSC is running a form of economic apartheid where Western Sydney shoulders the lion’s share of immigration and population growth to provide cheap foreign labour and inflated demand to the wealthy barons in the East.

This model enables the Elites in the East to profit from the rentier services of over-priced ghetto apartments and postage stamp houses, inflated land banks, as well as higher volumes of mortgages and retail sales, while not having to share in the downsides of congestion and eroded amenity.

It’s time for them to share in the overcrowding that comes from endless mass immigration.

Leith van Onselen

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

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