Greens: Immigration has minimal impact on housing market


If you want a textbook example of why the Australian Greens cannot be trusted, check out the below lies from housing spokesperson Max Chandler-Mather on Sunday’s ABC Insiders program.

Chandler-Mather point blank lied that record immigration has had minimal impact on the nation’s housing market. He has also called for an even larger intake, claiming “more people coming to this country is a good thing”.

“I think this debate around migration is a huge distraction because when we talk about immigrants or migration we’re talking about the nurses, teachers we’re talking about construction workers – the people this country needs”, Chandler Mather told ABC’s David Speers.

“Secondly, we saw during covid that net migration reached near zero and house prices continued to go up”.


“We just don’t think that migration is a major cause of the housing crisis”, Chandler Mather claimed.

“What we know is that there were a million vacant properties on the night of the Census in 2021”.

“I just want to be very clear: we have enough homes for people to live in. We have enough construction materials to build the homes for the new people coming to this country”.

“What we don’t have is the political will to take on a housing system where property developers constrict supply to make money for themselves and treat housing as a huge speculative asset”, Chandler-Mather argued.

“We’d like to see a big increase in the number of refugees that this country is taking… but again this is not the cause of the housing crisis”.

“In general, I think more people coming to this country is a good thing because we are desperately short of healthcare workers. We’re desperately short of construction workers. We’re desperately short of the people we need to make this country work”, Chandler Mather concluded.

Why does Max Chandler-Mather think that Australia’s house prices and rents rebounded so strongly in the face of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) monetary tightening?

Australian dwelling values

Anybody with a shred of common sense can see that it is because the federal government lifted net overseas migration to an all-time high 518,000, driving a massive increase in housing demand:

Historical NOM

They can also see that the surge in net overseas migration has driven rental inflation through the roof, just like it did when migration boomed in 2008-09:

CPI Rents

This extreme population growth is also a key reason why Australia is desperately short of public housing, which Chandler-Mather pretends to care about:

Public housing vs population growth

This imbalance between overall housing demand and supply will continue so long as Australia’s population growth continues to dwarf housing construction.

Housing demand and supply

Even prominent immigration influencer, Abul Rizvi, cannot deny immigration’s deleterious impact on the housing crisis:

Abul Rizvi

Yellow Brick Road founder, Mark Bouris, believes cutting immigration to historical levels is key to solving the nation’s housing crisis:


“What we need are practical solutions. Reducing immigration to 100,000 people a year (instead of 500,000 a year) should be step one”, Bouris wrote last week in

PropTrack research director, Cameron Kusher, likewise believes that immigration is simply too high and must be lowered if Australia is to solve the housing shortage:

Cameron Kusher Tweet

Almost everyone but Max Chandler-Mather and his dishonest Greens can see the truth.

Chandler-Mather’s claim that “more people coming to this country is a good thing” because we are “desperately short” of healthcare, construction and other essential workers is Ponzi-economics.

Australia’s population has grown by more than 8 million people this century, yet we are suffering worse skills shortages than ever.


Therefore, how will these ‘skills shortages’ magically resolve when Australia’s population grows by a projected 13.2 million people (over 50%) by 2062-63?

Australian resident population growth

How will Australia build the 5.5 million homes (accounting for demolitions), let alone the infrastructure, needed to house such a massive population increase? It is not possible.


And what of Australia’s natural environment? The latest State of the Environment Report cites population growth as one of the main risks to the environment:

SoE report

For a party that labels itself champions of the environment and the underprivileged, the Greens strong support of a Giant Australia is policy bankruptcy writ large.

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.