Ross Garnaut: Slash immigration to fix wages, lift living standards


Last year, I rudely claimed Professor Ross Garnaut had joined the “Big Australia Dills” after he was reported in The AFR as stating that Australia should return “immigration to pre-pandemic levels”.

In response, I argued that the mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy had damaged the Australian economy and living standards by:

  1. Crush-loading infrastructure across Australia’s major cities;
  2. Contributing to Australia’s historically low wage growth and chronically high labour underutilisation because migrant labour supply always ran ahead of demand;
  3. Forced residents of migrant-stuffed cities to live in expensive (and defective) high-rise apartments; and
  4. Damaged Australia’s productivity from capital shallowing (i.e. a reduction in the capital to labour ratio) and congestion.

It appears my allegation towards Professor Ross Garnaut was completely off the mark given his new book, entitled Reset, explicitly notes the above concerns and calls for Australia to cut its immigration intake in half.


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About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.