Australia’s recent migrants don’t want more immigration

By Michael Bayliss, communications manager for Sustainable Population Australia and Co-founder of Population, Permaculture and Planning.

THE OUTER GROWTH SUBURBS of Australian capital cities are among the most rapidly growing areas of the OECD. Many growth corridors struggle with a lack of access to infrastructure and essential services as suburban sprawl relentlessly marches outwards.

While we can all agree that this is a huge concern, is this an infrastructure issue, a population problem or both? The community remains divided.

Many claim this is simply a lack of expenditure on infrastructure and that population and migration are givens that should never be questioned.

Others call for a revision of population policy, which remains a controversial position. Recently, Labor MP Kristina Keneally called for a temporary freeze in migration, attracting a dichotomy of support and condemnation.

One of the shortcomings in regard to the migration debate is that migrants themselves are so often left out from discussion. So often, assumptions are made on their behalf without proper consultation or platform to hear their actual views.

I had the opportunity to interview Arnav Sati, a first-generation Indian skilled migrant who lives in the rapidly growing suburb of Tarneit in Melbourne’s west.

Arnav is a vocal advocate for both local residents and the Indian migrant community in the area. He is dedicated to his advocacy in improving the living standards of local residents and has run for state parliament on the issue.

Arnav is proud of his cultural background and the legacy and success of the Indian community in Melbourne:

“Indian culture is pretty much one of the most accommodating cultures in the world. We are diverse to the core and we coexist with anyone and everyone.”

Since moving to Melbourne as an international student 19 years ago, Arnav decided to call Melbourne home because of the people and the lifestyle.

However, after moving from Footscray to the outer suburb of Tarneit to be closer to family and community, Arnav observed some major problems:

“When I moved into Tarneit there was minimal infrastructure in place. This was insufficient to cater for our rate of growth.”

The suburb of Tarneit is within the local government area of Wyndham council in Melbourne’s far west. This is one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia, with an annual population growth rate of 6.28%. To put into perspective, Wyndham more than doubled in size from its 2006 population of 115,161 to 270,487 in 2019 — in just under 13 years.

Arnav says:

We have seen the population of Tarneit double in the last six years and it will double again in another six. The infrastructure won’t match up with the needs of the residents living in the area.

The most pressing issue in Tarneit – people first and infrastructure later – this concept will not work for us.

Without a significant injection in infrastructure at all levels of government, Arnav is cautionary in regard to Tarneit’s future:

“I can really see Tarneit becoming a modern slum in the next decade if the infrastructure issues are not addressed now.

Unfortunately, funding is not easy to get especially when you are in a safe Labor seat.”

When asked about the most pressing day-to-day issues that affect his community, Arnav believes that travel and transport are the biggest concern for residents at present:

“The Tarneit station car park is usually full by 7:30 in the morning and people or residents have got very little option but to park at spots where they risk heavy fines.

Residents often complain of being packed like sardines and especially when the trains run with reduced carriages it adds to the chaos.”

Arnav shared that the lack of public transport in the area is a particular struggle for young families, who are the largest demographic living in Tarneit. This is due to the daily juggle of dropping children off to school and daycare before starting a lengthy daily commute to work that can often take up to two hours. There is also a particular strain on the Indian community who live with extended families, such as elders who rely on their family for transport.

Arnav suggests there is not much reprieve for those who drive to work as:

“Roads are congested to the core.”

Road infrastructure in Melbourne’s west has been a costly exercise that has ultimately done little to mitigate the growth pains. For example, the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project is forecast to increase the passenger-carrying capacity by 27% by 2027. However, the number of passengers accessing Tarneit train station rose by 17% in the past year alone.

Furthermore, $1.8 billion of Western Roads Upgrade was announced in 2016 to duplicate roads in the area to be completed in 2022. Unfortunately, by 2020, Tarneit’s population has already doubled. The cost of providing infrastructure is prohibitively expensive when a population in an area is growing this rapidly.

Tarneit’s health sector infrastructure is also struggling, says Arnav:

“Werribee Mercy, our only local hospital, has capacity to manage 33% of the health needs of the community. Imagine what it would be when Tarneit’s population doubles in under a decade.”

Arnav also shared concerns regarding education infrastructure:

“Housing estates in the area are built before primary and secondary schools are put in the place. Due to this, existing schools are overcrowded.”

To meet existing and projected demand, Tarneit will need an additional three primary schools and one secondary school within three years. Arnav believes that this demand is higher than the rate in which new schools are being built.

The question remains — is this an issue of lack of infrastructure funding or an issue of population policy?

From Arnav’s perspective, it is a bit of both:

“I think it should be quality over quantity when it comes to migration, striking the right balance by increasing local jobs focusing on local skilled workers.”

In the year 2019, international arrivals in Australia were 534,100, with skilled and economic migration the largest contributors to our population growth. As a higher population tends to boost aggregate GDP, this has provided an illusion of growth since the Howard era, even as per capita wellbeing indicators have been stagnating.

With the downturn of the post-COVID-19 economy and the surge in unemployment, some leaders such as Kristina Keneally have called for a revision to migration policy.

In Arnav’s own observation:

“Mostly what I felt over the last few years is we are competing against each other. Whether it’s the skilled migrant versus a local resident versus an international student — just maybe because of sheer numbers.”

Arnav shared that his views are shared by many in the Indian migrant community in Tarneit. It is interesting that these observations appear more nuanced and balanced than the rhetoric from many urban planners, economists and politicians when it comes to managing growth.

We are in the midst of late-stage capitalism, characterised by a stagnating economy, resource depletion, astronomical infrastructure costs and high unemployment. Therefore, it is essential that all voices and perspectives are put to the table. In doing so, we may just discover that revising our population policy may not be as controversial as some believe it to be.

Comments

  1. Shutting the gates behind them! We must have infinite migration, no one has the right to oppose migration ever.

  2. It’s completely uncontroversial that we need fewer migrants. The great majority of Australians think that. Unfortunately, both sides of politics are captured by those who profit from mass immigration such as the people who build the houses at Tarneit and sell the punters their fridges and furnishings.

    We are doomed.

    • Poor Liz will soon be looking for a real job. I hope she can brew a good coffee.

        • Yes, how unkind of me to suggest cafe work. She’s probably more suited to something more physical, like cleaning or maybe letterbox leaflet delivery – the type of work the policies she’s expoused have left for my children.

          • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

            For some reason the thought of Liz working in a Cafe brings to mind that Gary Larson comic.. “Well, shoot. I just can’t figure it out. I’m movin’ over 500 doughnuts a day, but I’m still just barely squekin’ by” With large blimp like donut boy guiltily sweeping the floor.

    • And C Emerson, M Parkinson, A Rizvi, R Garnaut, B Evans, L Davies. Just for starters.

  3. dosbitzelMEMBER

    FIrst party who promises a return to sustainable immigration will win. If only Labor had the cajones to follow up on Kristina Keneallys sentiments and actually I dunno REPRESENT WORKING PEOPLE AGAIN.

  4. The FNG.MEMBER

    The lies peddled to the migrants are shameless. Little do they know that their true purpose here is to get massive debt to bail a boomer out of their “asset rich, cash poor” retirement dilemma and to pay tax for the pensions and hip replacements of the rest. Its just modern slavery.

    • Jumping jack flash

      Only some of the migrants. The others are here to be slaves and have their wages stolen so their masters can obtain the debt instead.
      I call these “type 1” and “type 2” immigrants respectively. Type 2 have no desire for debt, and that is fortunate, and it doesn’t matter where or how they live so long as they can get to work in time for their 20 hour shift at $5/hr.

    • haroldusMEMBER

      I know it’s a four word slogan but that’s a good name for the policy – “Bail Out a Boomer”.

    • Poor migrants nothing. A lot come here at 50, get their Medicare cards and get their hips repaired, and wait 17 years for when they can get a pension. I would say they take more than they put into the system.

    • That is not true, no way do migrants aid the boomers needing hip replacements….From my observations those needing hip replacements have been supporting doctors who support pharmacies who support big Pharma selling corticosteroids like glaxoSmithKlein and cymbicort, immigrants support parliamentarians with their 30 plus rental properties against salary tax, support Aus property council membership, building construction, developers, white goods and bedding ccrap carpet and dangerous cladding and building materials importers. None of those are poor old boomers.

    • I liked the mention of the families with seniors who have trouble getting around. How TF did we end up importing hordes of sick Indian geriatrics into our country? What possible benefit is there to this for everybody else?

      • @LSWCHP: We get the joy of not being called r–ist.

        Isn’t that worth everything?

        • Well, now that you point it out…yeah… being called a racialist is the worst thing in the world so everything must be done to avoid that.

      • Knuckles McGintyMEMBER

        I think the way it works is that the said geriatrics were dependent on their children for support, when they were in India.

        The child(ren) migrate to Australia and the parents are admitted on their coat-tails, as they are dependent.

        No idea how they pass the medical though…

  5. True in my experience. I have an Indian colleague who’s a hardcore One Nation supporter for this reason.

    • haroldusMEMBER

      As I was reading his litany of complaints, I was like “Yeah, I know, it’s terrible mate. Someone should do something about it eh.”

  6. Why would immigrants want more competition for the low paying job they’re doing now, they friggen get it.

    • Mining BoganMEMBER

      Fancy getting your wages undercut when you’re already working for ten bucks an hour.

      Un-NewAustralian

  7. That is a great article.

    In Sh!tney ground zero for the population/immigrant ponzi growth model of the economy is Kellyville.
    In Hellbourne, ground zero is Tarneit.

    For decades in Sh!tney the planning elites were pushing out 1/4 acre blocks then 1/8 acre blocks into the outer suburbs without improving transportation such as trains, buses, railway car parks and main roads. The Hills District has been a transport wasteland for what 60 years?
    In modern times the smart growth planning elites have mastered the art with Kellyville and surrounding suburbs. Pushing out 1/16th acre blocks onto hot western Sydney suburbs with little extra transport. Yes, a train station DID FINALLY get built there. And Yes,
    Windsor road DID EVENTUALLY get widened from 1 lane into 2.
    The planning fools originally thought that Windsor road would be fine with one lane when the train line was finished. But then someone pointed out to these lazy office-based leaners that Windsor road was choked with trademen’s vans and utes and trucks full of tools and equipment at 6am in the morning. After months of study and millions spent on consultants, the elite finally concluded that thousands of tradesmen would not be able to commute to work via the train, so the road needed to be widened. (More millions spent on consultants to figure out how to do this simple operation).

    Kellyville and surrounds are now a wallpaper view of roof tiles, and an oven-baking hot airconditioning humming place around summer time.

    Tarneit seems to be the Hellbourne equivalent.

    It is clear that rich overpaid out-of-touch planning and government and business elite scum have merely been using these outer suburbs as a dumping ground for the immigrant slaves who work for them, the immigrant borrowers who borrow from them, the immigrant consumers who buy from them, and the immigrant renters who rent from them and drive up rent for wh!tes. Of course these suburbs also accommodate locally-born people driven-out of the better suburbs by rich immigrants.

    These immigrants make great food delivery slaves, they make great debt borrowers, live happily 20 to a small house and happily undercut locals on wages and conditions. But sadly (for the elite) some of these immigrants like Arnav Sati, come with a functioning brain and actually can see what is needed for greater human wellbeing in the area – more infrastructure and less immigration.

    Thank you Arnav Sati and if that’s not racist, sexist and politically incorrect, then I don’t know what is.

    • Have they got a cricket oval out at Tarneit? We can get Mike Wh!tney from Sh!tney to come down and knock a few houses down, HOWWWZAATTT!

    • Arnav Sati must have been aware of what was happening before getting here – he only needed to WhatApp his cousins who were already here.

      He must have known he was one of many.

      If he was able to stay after ‘studying’ he must have known Australia was pushing a mass immigration programme based on low skilled migrants.

  8. “Indian culture is pretty much one of the most accommodating cultures in the world. We are diverse to the core and we coexist with anyone and everyone.”

    Said from the Tarneit monoculture ghetto.

    • Is this the same culture that brought the partition of India and Pakistan based upon religious, cultural and ethnic intolerance that sought to avoid further killings, who right now are seeking to define their citizenship on the same basis?

      https://www.hrw.org/report/2020/04/09/shoot-traitors/discrimination-against-muslims-under-indias-new-citizenship-policy

      Also from a culture that struggles with honour killings, acid attacks and arranged marriage…?

      It’s lucky that the MSM journalists are so thick and blind in their ideological fixations that the clank of irony that goes with Arnav’s words will never be allowed to be discussed.

      The truth is that much of the motivation for Indian immigration is to seek a better life to escape aspects of their own culture. By being dishonest about the vast difference in cultural expectations between Australian and Indian society allows a creeping dilution and dumbing down of discourse about important issues. It is notable that endless anecdotal evidence of Australian ‘racism’ that is beaten up in the ABC in particular never comes with an objective cross comparison of the institutionalised racism in nations from which many immigrants have come from and the unacceptable nature of many ‘traditional’ values that are not compatible with assimilation in western societies. It is true that Indians seem to do a lot better in this regard than other highly ethnocentric cultures, but the knee-jerk accusation of ‘racism’ as an explanation for every failing has become a mundane and self-fulfilling distraction.

    • Mr SquiggleMEMBER

      Yeah, I picked up on that too. It’s interesting that he identifies with Indian culture, not Australian multiculturalism.

  9. Peter SMEMBER

    Thinking about this article, perhaps a title like “High immigration killing migrants dreams” might be more effective and less confronting.
    There is an old saying that you catch more bugs with sugar than with vinegar.
    Yes I know that going all PC and trying hard not to offend anyone is nigh on impossible as the fake left with twsit it anyway and will still garner the anti-immigrant & racist tags from them, but the opposite is true of the way MB pushes its popopulation thesis, which actively attracts real racists and the hard right, many of whom don’t bother actually reading your articles.