Jim Chalmers backs up immigration dump truck

Incoming treasurer Jim Chalmers claims inflation is “almost out of control” and says the business community has “the big role” to play in the post-pandemic recovery, basically mimicking the statements of the Business Council of Australia. He says Labor will help businesses solve their skills shortages and that increasing immigration has to be “part of the story”:

“There is no stronger, broader, more inclusive economy without the business community buying in, and I look forward to developing those relationships further as treasurer,” he said.

Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy on Sunday afternoon met with Dr Chalmers at his house in Logan in Brisbane’s outer suburbs to provide the incoming government briefing known as the “red book”…

With businesses warning skills shortages were putting a speed limit on the economy, boosting participation and matching skills with employer needs would be “a big priority” for the Albanese government…

[Business groups] have been calling for a temporary two-year increase in the permanent migration intake to help address the domestic skills crisis…

“We’re focused on growing the economy without adding new inflation, getting real wages moving again, and trying to have something to show for all this debt in the budget,” Dr Chalmers said…

“Migration obviously has to be part of the story, but it can never be a substitute for training people,” Dr Chalmers said, citing increased investment in skills development and boosting participation.

“Too many businesses have told me over the course of the last little while that if they could find the skills that they needed domestically, then they could grow faster and employ even more people,” he said.

“We want to help them on that journey.”

We all know how this is going to go. After remaining dead silent about immigration over the election campaign, the new Labor Government will unload the immigration dump truck.

The business lobby, which Chalmers is cozying up to demands it. The Australian Treasury demands it. The property lobby demands it. And the edu-migration industry demands it.

By contrast, Australian voters overwhelmingly do not want a return to pre-COVID mass immigration, but their preferences will be ignored as per usual.

The end result will be precisely what I outlined in MB’s Christmas Special Report – another ‘lost decade’ like the last whereby the aggregate economy grows at a reasonable clip, but per capita outcomes stagnate:

Australian per capita GDP growth Australian per capita income growth

Labor will use inflation and ‘skills shortages’ as the trojan horse to ramp-up immigration, and Australian workers will be the losers.

It was always going to be this way whoever won the election.

Unconventional Economist


    • LNP Light, implementing the LNP policies.MEMBER

      Labor was captured by the fearful small target approach into agreeing every Liberal policy, including immigration and high income tax cuts, and much the same climate change promised, so has no other money to spend.
      And on immigration its captured by the perceived immigration vote, even though the local Chinese voted out Gladys Liu.

      Its the LNP light with the benefit ICAC.
      Labor is in to implement ScoMos policies.

  1. Know IdeaMEMBER

    Sounds like another golden decade for capital … at least until the pitchforks are dusted off.

    • kierans777MEMBER

      On immigration yes. On other issues no. Blanket statements like this are not helpful to the discussion.

      • Just calling what I see. Stimulus, bailout, Big Australia. No meaningful reform of any kind. Only the rusted on types still believe that there is.

      • DingwallMEMBER

        So in keeping with the discussion, what are these “other issues” you hint at?

        • kierans777MEMBER

          – Federal ICAC for one. And if Labor don’t put in a good one, I will be first in line in the polling booth with the cricket bat.
          – Stronger emissions reduction targets (even though they’re still too low).
          – Implement the Respect at work recomendations
          – Uluru statement.

          I’ll criticise the ALP’s backing of mass immigration with the rest of MB. It’s also not my job to list every single policy difference of the ALP. But there’s a few off the top of my head.

          • drsmithyMEMBER

            There is also a small chance that under the ALP, workers rights and immigration requirements will be improved, which will address some of the negative impacts.

          • I agree with smithy there – I think the ALP is the lesser of evils at the moment, and are more likely to at least partially improve some of the social and economic wrongs of the LNP and their toxic stoic legacy.

          • kierans777. Almost everyone is happy to see the Coalition gone. They were the worst and most corrupt government I’ve seen in my lifetime.

            But Labor isn’t exactly inspiring. They are still captive to the same vested interests.

          • Strange economicsMEMBER

            Maybe different social policies,

            But in Economics the LNP policies are all to be implemented – thats a small target approach-
            LNP Policies –
            High income tax cuts
            Ever increasing house prices (the Unaffordable housing policy)
            All the pork barrelling and not cost benefit infrastructure
            Private school subsidies
            High immigration

          • kierans777MEMBER

            But Labor isn’t exactly inspiring.

            @UE – Agreed. There’s a reason the LNP were slaughtered but Labor didn’t pick up all the gains. They need to address big policy issues like the “infinite growth” economic model, mass immigration, etc. And I want them to. But to touch economic reform they need to get an ICAC, media reform, truth in political advertising reform and donations reform done. Only then can we touch economic issues without the media going completely rabid.

            The Teals have shown that grassroots centred democracy can be an effective fundraising tool. Labor doesn’t have to be captured by vested interests. Engage with your communities again (<cough>Fowler</cough>). Maybe Labor needs to follow the Voices Of playbook to build itself back up again.

          • Can add Labor will have less housing schemes now that Coalition is gone. Albo’s equity scheme sucked but it was only for 10k (yeh, they may instead it) but it was nothing like or anywhere near as irresponsible as the Coalition’s policy to tap into super.

          • When you said “not my job” I realised how effective Labor’s marketing campaign has been. Sucked in Scrotomo

    • Mass urbanization is the only economic plan they know. Why the surprise? However they might be forced into change with material shortages and broken supply chains that most likely will not recover.

  2. kierans777MEMBER

    Sus Aus only got 0.5% of the senate vote in Vic – and I was one of them.

    Where is their presense. They don’t appear to campaign. I heard squat from them this election.

    • Immigration levels don’t seem to get a mention from them these days. It’s all about better planning instead..

      • Waisted my vote on SAP. Gave them benefit of doubt. Won’t next time. They need to Teal Up & get a “mega” sponsor. That is the thing that got shown up at this election. If you can convince an extremely wealthy sponsor that you match ideas (not sure which comes first?) you will get cash backing. If you can’t get cash backing then you will be just like SAP. Completely ineffectual & pointless.
        Also gave a vote to Drew Pavlou Democratic Alliance. I was one of 250 votes. LOL, interesting exercise. My family assumed I had lost my marbles! Will reconsider all my voting intentions next time.

        • I saw Democratic Alliance, didn’t know what they were about so I didn’t give them a vote. I can’t believe only 250 votes.. that’s an eye opener.

          • drsmithyMEMBER

            He’s basically a single-issue (Uyghurs) candidate and that issue is, to be blunt, irrelevant to nearly everyone.

  3. “Migration obviously has to be part of the story, but it can never be a substitute for training people.” Pretty much what Beazley said, when rolled over to Howard on Big Australia 1.0 in 2005.

    Negative migration has given Australia its best unemployment result in 48 years. But the Treasurer and the Treasury can immediately ditch that fact, and mass migration “obviously” is part of the story. All of the story, actually.

    • It’s funny meeting people who still cling to the outdated view that the Australian Labor Party stands up for Australian labour.

      K-Rudd increased immigration to its highest levels in this country’s history to, at least in part, placate big business.

  4. Display NameMEMBER

    Too many businesses have told me over the course of the last little while that if they could find the skills that they needed domestically

    Because they don’t train anyone anymore. After over a decade of OECD leading levels of migration and record breaking temporary visas being issued we STILL have skills shortages. So either that migration program and/or our colleges/unis programs are not fit for purpose…

    So lets just double down, not try and solve any root causes, toss the 1.2+M under employed under the bus because they all know it drives wages and living standards down…. Another lost decade coming up.

    • Correct. I told my kids if they want to get trained they will most likely need to emigrate or become a tradie like many of the other kids in school. Somehow they might end up in a call centre and paying computer games for the rest of their miserable lives after hours living in dig box. And it will make them content.

  5. Hey Labor, think about it: the current unemployment rate is low, due to low immigration – you know that and you’ve said so just recently. The LNP knows the unemployment rate is low.

    Increasing immigration, mostly low-skilled, to former levels WILL increase the unemployment rate.

    Do you REALLY want to give the LNP ammo so early on? You want to kill the idea that the LNP are the ‘better economic managers’, so don’t do something to force up the unemployment rate so obviously!

    You’ve been so RealPolitik for the last 3 years….don’t lose you heads now. Sheesh.

  6. Dutton has called for reduced Immigration in the past. He needs to become opposition leader and provide an alternative to mass migration.

    • SupperannuationMEMBER

      True, he may actually use this if they no longer expect to hold the inner city and appeal to out suburban and regional areas. He can also use it as an environmental/rental shortage wedge.

  7. And the coin has come down…heads!! No, tails!! No, heads!! No,tails!! Oh wait it’s a rigged coin!!

  8. DodgydamoMEMBER

    “Migration obviously has to be part of the story, but it can never be a substitute for training people,” Dr Chalmers said.
    Not sure what all the dog whistling is about because he sounds like they’re actually interested in training locals by that statement… where did the LNP ever make that distinction?

    • They didn’t. But let’s see if anything comes out of it. I’ll take the under.

    • What ever Labor might do in this area will be a world better than the devastation that a returned Scummo government would have brought.

      It is early days too. Labor won’t go all in on the temp foreign workers, there will be labor market testing etc etc. There is a difference.

      LDS should chill out a bit.

    • Jim Chalmers is a know big migration fan. So is Andrew Leigh. So is new Wunderkind Andrew Charlton. I’ve documented Chalmers’ former statements on the topic on this site.

      I am happy to wager with you that they will reboot immigration and retain the IGR’s and Treasury’s 235,000 ‘Big Australia’ net overseas migration target.

      Do you honestly believe they will be significantly better on this issue? Remember, they promsed to issue unlimited grandparents visas last election.

      • But big migration has already been booted, no? But the net migrants haven’t come? What’s the outlook for that?

      • That was mentioned as a key issue for Indian community when head of Tune india radio was interviewed on Friday morning. Apparently the 30 n 40 yr olds want to start bringing over the parents. Hahaha, the bogan strikes again!

        • So each migrant brings in two elderly parents that will in many cases need hospital/aged care when we already have an aged care crisis and people dying waiting for Ambulances. Not sure that’s the idea behind skilled immigration.

      • I think you need easy housing credit for it to work. Bundle yr aspirational migrant off the plane straight into a brick sh!tbox in BFE on that awful plain between Geelong and Melbourne with a 600 K mortgage. Without that there’s no pull factor.

        • ‘ Bundle yr aspirational migrant off the plane straight into a brick sh!tbox in BFE on that awful plain between Geelong and Melbourne with a 600 K mortgage.’
          You have just described Australia’s economic growth model (with all the right people making MONEY….)

    • just cos we think our life is so sh!t ?
      theirs is sh!tter…. by a wide margin. they’d be here in a heart beat

  9. Time to buy units close to the CBD & inner suburbs to rent out to international students.

  10. So in reality after all is said & done withelection blah blah we actually have exactly the same problem that we’ve had for 17 years?
    Mass excessive immigration! Well that was worth the 6 week election campaign & a change of Government.
    I guess the Teals will Deal with this along with the extatic Greens?