NSW Premier Berejiklian announced over the weekend that she wants to use one third of the state’s 3,000 hotel quarantine places to bring in international students and skilled migrants:
In an interview with The Sun-Herald, Ms Berejiklian said she wants NSW to use a third of its hotel quarantine slots to take in international students, skilled migrants and specialist workers needed by businesses – about 1000 people a week, ideally starting in January.
She said NSW was not in a position to increase its quarantine capacity above 3000 a week, so other states should “lift their game” and quarantine more Australians returning from overseas.
“NSW would like to look at things that boost our economy … not just returning Aussies,” she said. “We would like to start that as soon as we can in the new year but obviously that’s up to the federal government to let us do that.”
Gladys Berejiklian is right to push other states (not to mention the federal government) to take more returning Aussies into hotel quarantine. NSW has, after all, taken 56% of international arrivals since the pandemic began.
Nevertheless, no international student or ‘skilled’ migrant should be imported into Australia until all citizens and permanent residents have been returned. According to the latest National Cabinet Meeting, there were around 36,000 Australians waiting in the queue to return home. They must be given priority. Otherwise, what is the point of being Australian if a foreign non-resident receives better access to the country than you?
Berejiklian should also be cognisant of the fact that NSW residents do not want more immigration. This was made clear in last year’s Newspoll survey, which showed that 80% of voters do not want the state’s population to increase, with majority support across all three major political parties:
Finally, importing international students and migrant workers into NSW when the state’s labour underutilisation is so high would be an unmitigated disaster for the working class. It would reduce workers’ bargaining power, increase unemployment, crush wage growth, and lift rents (other things equal).
But why should any of that matter when Gladys Berejiklian’s first priority is her developer mates:
Premier Gladys Berejiklian moved the Greater Sydney Commission under her control against the advice of a key departmental boss two months after a secret lobbying push by a group including big business and developers.
A group of prominent Sydney identities wrote a confidential letter to the Premier in March 2018 urging her to seize ministerial control of the commission, which then fell under the Department of Planning…
The letter was penned in the same month the Greater Sydney Commission released a report that was unpopular with developers because it recommended industrial land be protected from being rezoned for high-rise residential purposes…
Ms Berejiklian delivered her verdict in June 2018, opting to take control of the commission.
When foreign nationals and developers carry more weight than ordinary Australians, you know your entire political system has been corrupted.