IA: Immigration needed to build infrastructure for migrants

Infrastructure Australia has released a new report lobbying for more skilled immigration to build the infrastructure needed to sustain a bigger population (caused by immigration):

Infrastructure Australia chief executive Romilly Madew said more migration will be needed to fill the forecast shortfall of 105,000 infrastructure jobs.

The report highlights “increasing risks for cost escalation and on-time delivery – as we try and manage a new wave of investment … on an unprecedented scale,” Ms Madew said at the report’s launch on Wednesday.

“Pursuing industry reform is no longer optional. It is essential to deliver this record wave of investment – and to secure our effective and timely economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.”

Peak labour shortages are expected, including shortfalls of 70,000 engineers, architects and scientists; 15,000 staff in structural and civil trades; and 19,000 project management professionals…

This is ‘tail wagging the dog’ economics. The primary reason why Australia has embarked upon such a large infrastructure build is to cater for its ballooning population caused by mass immigration:

The Intergenerational Report projects that Australia’s population will swell by a whopping 13.1 million people (~50%) over the next 40 years to 38.8 million people – equivalent to adding another Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to Australia’s existing population. And this will be driven by annual net overseas migration of 235,000.

The obvious question is: what’s the point of building all of this infrastructure if it will simply be ‘filled-up’ with migrants? How does this benefit existing Australian residents, especially given these projects will be funded via escalating user charges such as tolls?

Ultimately, existing residents will be charged more to use infrastructure that they previously used for free, with private companies like Transurban profiteering.

Why would Infrastructure Australia back mass immigration when its own modelling shows that doing so will wreck living standards in Sydney:

As well as Melbourne:

As shown above, Infrastructure Australia’s modelling explicitly shows that living standards in both cities will unambiguously worsen under every scenario as both cities’ populations balloon to a projected 7.4 million and 7.3 million respectively by 2046 via mass immigration, with significantly worse traffic congestion and reduced access to employment, schools, hospitals and green space.

Heck, Infrastructure Australia’s 2019 Audit warned that even the current level of high investment in road and rail projects will not be enough to prevent the cities becoming paralysed by congestion by 2031. The cost of lost productivity due to gridlock is estimated to double from the current level to close to $40 billion per year.

The whole immigration-led economic system is a scam designed to enrichen owners of capital at the expense of ordinary residents:

  • Stuff in people so that new infrastructure is needed.
  • Build infrastructure with public/private partnerships and allow fat charges to the existing population to use them.
  • Standards of living fall given all you have done is privately tax folks to use infrastructure that they previously used for free.
  • Politicians get to pretend that they are good economic managers as GDP rises and they are doing something about congestion (caused by said people-stuffing).
  • Infrastructure owners like Transurban and their backers get ever richer driving jobs to the city while raising the exchange rate and hollowing out suburban factories.
  • Rinse and repeat until death by debt.

This entire immigration economy is predicated on firms like Transurban privatising the gains from mass immigration while socialising the costs on everyone else via giant private taxes and eroded living standards.

The solution is less immigration, not more.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. Quiet AustralianMEMBER

    Seeing Ken Henry’s picture in the Herald got me thinking.
    I’ve always thought Ken is near his best when he is sticking up for his beloved wombats.

    Dr Henry writes at length on the subject in Pearls and Irritations (January 13, 2020). Here are some examples of his clear, informative prose: “The bare-nosed wombat is a robust animal, but it has tolerance limits.”, and again, “Wombats enjoy living in much the same sorts of places we humans find amenable.”

    The bit where he takes on the wombats’ natural enemy: the backwoods redneck, is memorable. He says he thinks very little decency penetrates their “gormless skulls”.

    But for mine, his best work is the facial expressions he pulled when interviewed by George Megalogenis in the latter’s defining work “Making Australia Great”. Ken is asked whether he thinks it might not be a great idea to cram another 300 million people into Australia, pronto?

    In response, Ken gives very little away verbally, muttering something about infrastructure not keeping up, but the intensity of his eyes – fiercely sizing up George’s skull for just the right adjective – it’s gold.

    If George were to get his 300 million (Chinese, I think his preference was), I wonder what would become of Ken’s much loved Southern Hairy-nosed? Or Northern Hairy-nosed?

    • I'll have anotherMEMBER

      At about 100 / prj in design and approx 50 for construction, that = 47 no. multi $bil projects.

      So yeah. We don’t need that many.

      Local councils, a traditional employer of civil engineers have moved away from in house engineering departments.

      Not uncommon for rural councils to employ zero civ eng’s these days.

      The real bizarre point is that we already have enough civil engineers. We simply done need more.

      Government knows however, if they import a heap of engineers who’ll do 75hr weeks on site, 6 days a week, for peanuts, they can cause a supply glut.

      This results in much cheaper infrastructure tender pricing from the small handful of companies that have the insurance capable of building these giant projects.

      Gov wants the infrastructure.

      They just don’t want to pay engineering grads a fair wage to build it for them.

      • Jumping jack flash

        agree with all of this.

        The council in the last NSW LGA I lived in got rid of their civil engineer and employed an environmental engineer instead.
        I was friends with the civil engineer at the time, and he had to move far, far away to find a council that still employed civils.

        That particular council would also engage with engineering academics from the local university to prepare various compliance reports a couple of times a year, to throw up the chain o’ command for their annual tick-and-flicks. It was far cheaper than hiring a civil engineer.

      • You’re preaching to the converted mate. I’m a professional engineer with nearly 40 years in the game. I’m an ex member of Engineers Australia, precisely because they were making huge bank out out of accrediting a flood of foreign engineers while largely ignoring the needs of people like me. Why the fck would I pay money to belong to a professional body whose sole aim seemed to be replacing me and my mates with incompetent foreigners who would work for slave wages while not being able to speak or write coherent English sentences.

        Sh1t, you’ve got me started. Every time I think about it the red mist starts to descend.

        • I recently cancelled my membership with Engineers Australia as well. My parting message:

          I am no longer renewing my membership because of Engineers Australia’s endorsement of seven engineering roles being added to the Australia Government’s Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List. The addition of these roles do not benefit the profession, only the engineering firms who can use the additional supply of foreign labour to supress wages. As per your Chief Executive Officer, Dr Bronwyn Evans remark, “This is an excellent outcome which is set to benefit many companies…”. It is clear you do not represent the interests of actual Australian engineers.

          • Good on you. I gave them a very similar message when I cancelled my membership, and heard precisely nothing in response, because as you say, they don’t represent or give even a very small sh1t about actual engineers, and they will import a tsunami of foreigners to replace us anyway.

            I sincerely hope that one day the membership wakes up, and either overthrow the corrupt imbeciles who run that miserable organisation, or simple resign en masse.

        • I'll have anotherMEMBER

          Me too mate.

          Many years of watching tier 1 contractors churn & burn grads working 80hr weeks for $50k – $70k in shit conditions under huge stress has left me convinced the industry has turned to cancer.

          Surveyors Boards perform no better than EA.

          Purely there representing the directors of large consultancies to keep the stats quo in place. More than happy to sign off on some surveyor with an unknown overseas degree through a government supplied, 3rd party qualifications assesment board whilst Aussie grads go through the world’s most rigorous Land Survey training. Also happy to pump the idea of skills shortage to keep things as they are.

          Most board members past and present will be retired in 10 years and will have left the industry in shambles.

    • Yes, I work for a manufacturing company that has many engineers, scientists, master degrees all working as semi skilled operators (from mostly one particular country) and they are very happy to stay. Sometimes one of them upgrades to a scientist position, and I wonder, “there isn’t anyone local who could have applied for this position?, they don’t seem particularly capable”

      I asked one of them, who got himself a B Eng mech from RMIT, why, after 5 years he hadn’t applied for an engineering position in some other company, his reply “I would make less money”. No he wouldn’t. I believe he knew he wouldn’t get a job. My company kept knocking him back.

  2. Are we a serious country? How can they, a supposedly serious organisation get away with saying something so obviously farcically stupid? Our leaders are meant to notice such comical circular logic, laugh at it, make fun of who wrote it and throw it in the bin. Why is that not happening?

    This is like a bad dream.

    • Serious? No. This place is a fcking bad joke with no punchline. The interestting thing though, is that millions of people want to come here from other countries, which tells us a lot about the nature of life in India, Pakistan, Nepal, China etc etc..

    • blacktwin997MEMBER

      Many of us have a great fondness for legacy Australia and desperately want it to return to being a serious country. That said there is a lot of money to be made by scammers, rorters, spivs and ticket clippers in a stupid country – and these people provide money to enable our government’s fetish for pissing money away. Much of said pissing being directed into the trouser pockets and bank accounts of other government members.

      • Having the place run by a bunch of dim-witted small-time crims (looking at Angus Taylor here in particular) who use their public office to enrich themselves and pay for party political shennigans (eg sports rorts, parking lots) is not doing the country any good at all. Having a MSM in the pockets of the crims and thus doing nothing to expose their foetid criminality and even operate to facilitate their crimes just makes things worse. Having both politicans and media and almost everybody owned by the big end of town is just the icing turd on the cake.

        We really need a revolution, with tumbrils. Lots and lots of tumbrils.

      • Jumping jack flash

        “there is a lot of money to be made by scammers, rorters, spivs and ticket clippers”

        In the New Economy where nobody actually does anything that has any relevance anymore, and the last few things that people may do that are useful and relevant for the country are frowned upon, these professions you mention are now essential.

        The entire economy is built on those foundations. It is just a huge get-rich-quick scheme and the name of the game is debt maximisation so you can hand that entire gargantuan pile of debt you receive from the bank over to someone else standing on the next rung of the ladder, just above the one you’re on.

        Then, in turn, you wait for someone else to climb onto the ladder rung below yours to do the same for you, but with an even bigger pile of debt.

        • What about those 5 guys mowing the grass under the solar farms the Nats are complaining about. They should move to a city cause all the garden maintenance types here drive tradie 4×4’s (instant asset write-off) with special trailers for their mowers. Those country bumkins don’t know how to make a buck!

          • Jumping jack flash

            “They should move to a city cause all the garden maintenance types here drive tradie 4×4’s (instant asset write-off) with special trailers for their mowers.”

            All bought with piles of debt.
            But I get what you’re saying.

            Of course mowing grass is a service and therefore just pushes shrinking piles of [debt] money around between people rather than earning new money for the nation to improve living standards and actually make people richer. If those humble lawn mowers want to increase their revenue the best and easiest thing for them to do is to employ an army of cheap immigrants to do all the work for them, pay them a few dollars an hour, and bump all their prices for lawn mowing up.

            I’ve been asking my wife to do this for a while. She’s increased all her prices recently in preparation for the inflation tidal wave that’s about to crash onto us, but she hasn’t put anyone on yet to pay them a few dollars an hour to do all her work for her. As soon as they open teh gates she’ll be good to go. Any moment now.

  3. Moral hazard, careful that your solution does not create a larger problem; infrastructure is dynamic and human e.g. healthcare into the future not just (supposedly) solid state bridges, roads etc..

    With most of our ‘immigration’ being temporary churn over under the NOM (permanent skilled is modest), they are described as ‘net financial contributors’ to budgets that have to support increasing numbers of pensioners and tax breaks for self funded retirees (let’s not forget generous corporate socialism); backgrounded by increasing dependency ratios in the permanent population due to below replacement and/or declining fertility with the baby boomer ‘bubble’ to pass….

    If borders remained closed to ‘immigrants’ e.g. NZ’ers, students, backpackers etc. budget revenue shortfalls will be covered how? Decrease services i.e. public service delivery, pensions (tighten means & assets testing e.g. inc. house), tax breaks and investment in infrastructure (aka USA of past generations and less developed world), or simply increase taxes and for retirees too, with higher taxes again for working age.

    How well will that go with voters and more influential, when the corporate sector (inc. MNCs and/or their subsidiaries) demanding corporate tax cuts through proxies like the LNP, BCA, IPA etc. via NewsCorp, 9F and 7WM?

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