It’s as if we blinked and someone decided that Australia’s population had to increase to an enormous 70 million by the end of the century.
Mass immigration is adding millions of people to Australia’s population each decade – changing the country forever.
The existing population hasn’t given their consent on such an important issue. Instead, they’re told that immigration is good and to celebrate its benefits, even as its citizens grow more concerned about increasing congestion, reduced social cohesion and the gradual loss of the country they know.
The problem is enormous
Australia’s population is growing fast. And by fast I mean faster than the world’s population, faster than our close neighbours (except for Papua New Guinea), and faster than all other major OECD countries. The only countries that have higher growth rates are third world and developing countries – not great company to keep.
With a population of 24.7 million we had a massive net overseas migration intake of 245,000 in 2017, with 90% of immigrants opting to settle in either Sydney or Melbourne. That’s equivalent to a city larger than Hobart being transplanted into our two largest cities each and every year. Immigration has increased by a factor of 3, from an average of 70,000 people up until the early 2000s, to an average of 210,000 since then. Immigration dramatically increased in the early 2000s, and we’re really starting to feel the effects now.
The change is breathtaking. In 1998 the ABS released a media release stating that our population “could grow to between 23.5 and 26.4 million by the year 2051“.
Current reality: we’ll hit 25 million in early 2018, instead of 2051.
New reality: we’re now looking at a population of 38 million by 2051 and possibly 70 million by 2101.
Our major cities bear the brunt of this onslaught. Sydney has grown from 3.5 million people in 1990, to 4 million in 2000, and 5 million in 2017. It will reach 6 million by 2028.
That’s an extra one million people in just 10 years. This is staggering. Nobody in Sydney will say that what the city really needs right now is more people.
But if you think things are bad now, wait until 2051 – just 33 years away – when the population of both Sydney and Melbourne will reach an estimated 9 million people.
From 5 million people in 2018, to 9 million people in 33 years. I’m not making this up.
9 million is more than the current population of New York City. It’s more than Hong Kong, Singapore and Los Angeles. Hell, it’s more than the population of London – and it’s been around for over 2,000 years.
You’ve heard of the great cities Amsterdam, Berlin and Rome…they have populations of 1.3, 3.7 and 4.3 million people respectively, which is comparable to Sydney’s population of 4 million in the year 2000 – the year that Sydney hosted the Olympic Games. Wasn’t Sydney a great city then? Who the hell said it would be a good idea to change things?
The current population suffers
If you Google ‘best things about Australia’, the top results list things such as our beaches, our unique wildlife, our open spaces. I’ll add our safe, friendly and law-abiding society and laid-back attitude to the list of the best things about Australia.
Now pause a minute…drastically increasing our population has an adverse effect on all of the best things about Australia.
The beaches become a living nightmare if we have too many people trying to use them. We’ve destroyed much of our native forests and bushland, and adding more population will just make things worse. We’re laid-back and friendly because we’re not competing with thousands of other people wherever we go.
If your goal was to destroy the best things about Australia you couldn’t do a better job than by massively increasing our population.
We’re caught on an infrastructure treadmill
A rapidly growing population must invest massive amounts of money in new and upgraded infrastructure. The higher density of population causes ‘diseconomies of density’ where more elaborate infrastructure is required (for example where expensive tunnels and desalination plants are required instead of roads and existing dams).
A city with a growing population needs more roads, it needs more trains, more schools, more hospitals, more stadiums, more universities, more medical specialists. Billions upon billions of dollars would have to be spent to carry out all this work. And here’s the kicker – all that money is being spent just to keep up – just to keep things the same (or even to try to make them less-worse than they were before the population increased). We’re seeing this scenario play out right now in Sydney and Melbourne – the cities where most immigrants settle.
Unfortunately the following example is well known to many Australians:
Imagine a toll-road that was built because the existing roads were getting too congested.
Over a few years, the new toll-road also becomes congested. The government then decides to spend billions more widening the toll-road to make it, again, less congested.
All that money is being spent in an attempt to return to a situation that existed before the toll-road was built – before our wonderful immigration program caused so much congestion. We’re spending money just to keep up with the increasing population. Do you ever feel like you’re running flat out, but never getting ahead? That’s what an increasing population feels like.
Do Australian’s have to put up with more and more congestion, simply because we’re told that population growth is so wonderful? And when does it stop? When do we get to take a breath?
On the flip side, if the population was stable, we’d all be better off. The money that would have been spent on all this new infrastructure could be spent on improving hospitals, improving roads, improving schools – actually making them better – rather than just struggling to keep up with an increasing population.
The economic benefits are small or non-existent
On face value, things look positive on the Australia-wide economic front. An increase in our population will always lead to an increase in Australia’s GDP. We’ve had 25 years of economic growth without a recession, partly due to population growth. An increased population means that wages are kept lower and businesses have more people to sell to, which (as they say), is great for business…
But ease up on the champagne glasses – the above only tells half the story. The increase in GDP actually masks the fact that income per person has actually been falling in Australia for many years, and is only recently started increasing. The pie is getting bigger, but there are more mouths to feed.
Our population growth is so high that even when individuals get poorer, high migration makes it nearly impossible for Australia to fall into recession.
And this leads to the following conclusion – that if the economy is starting to slow, the government has an incentive to reduce the quality of life for existing Australians by massively increasing immigration…which will increase overall GDP and make it look like the economy is actually performing well.
High immigration can mask a slowing economy and mask poor economic management. Fortunately this type of situation can only exist for so long before people wake up to what is happening.
Having said all the above, it would be remiss of me not to mention a 2016 Productivity Commission report: Migrant Intake into Australia. This report states that, assuming we continue to bring in young, highly skilled immigrants, GDP per person would be 7% higher with higher immigration in the year 2060.
However, there are many caveats, such as Australia must continue to attract young, highly skilled immigrants. Also, real wages would actually be lower with higher immigration.
How can GDP per person rise but wages fall? – The level of real wages will fall with higher immigration because there is more supply of labour, but real GDP per person will increases because there are more working-age people as a percent of the population.
So that’s the good news.
The report goes to great lengths to say that GDP per person isn’t the whole story. Indeed, the lower skilled and first job seekers may be adversely impacted by immigration. They may be impacted by lower wages, casualisation of their jobs as well as unemployment (and unemployment may scar people for the rest of their life, especially if it occurs at an early stage of their career).
Below are some of the quotes in the report regarding GDP per person:
“GDP per person is a weak measure of the overall wellbeing of the Australian community”
“an improvement in GDP per person should be considered a necessary but not a sufficient condition for concluding that a policy change is likely to improve community-wide wellbeing.”
“Increases in real GDP per capita are not sufficient to assess whether the immigration system as a whole benefits the existing Australian community (and their future descendants)”
If you support high levels of immigration due to the purely economic benefits then I hope luck falls your way. If you get the migrant age and skill mix right, if the Australian economy is growing, and if you don’t mind maybe throwing some fellow Australian’s on the scrap-heap in the pursuit of this growth, and you simply ignore all the negatives associated with massive immigration, such as congestion, the impact on the environment and the reduced social cohesion…then you might see an Australia that has a higher GDP per capita in 2060.
That’s not the Australia that I want.
Our society suffers
Did you hear about the country that decided that community and family didn’t matter – and what really mattered was record high population growth? Welcome to Australia’s cost of housing crisis.
House prices in Sydney and Melbourne have skyrocketed over the past decade partially because Sydney and Melbourne take 90% of migrants. We even have cashed-up Chinese commuting in and out of the country to enjoy the Australian lifestyle, something I am personally aware of in Sydney.
Of course, there are many other factors that can lead to price increases, including debt-financed speculation and development restrictions. However, a rapidly rising population only adds to these factors.
Unfortunately this has real and negative impacts on the function of individuals, families and communities. We see a situation where more young people are living at home for longer, stifling life and career ambitions. Australian’s are delaying having children or are having fewer children partially due to the financial difficulty of securing suitable housing.
Families are being forced to live apart due to children not being able to afford to buy in the same area as their parents. Many young people are now relying on an inheritance to purchase a home, itself causing problems within families. In the midst of all this is the weaker sense of community as people no longer own their own home, making them feel less a part of the community.
Rising housing prices also increases homelessness and makes solving the problem of homelessness more difficult. Rising prices also effects our economy, as people have less disposable income due to a greater percentage of their income being spent on either rent or mortgage payments.
Along with issues of housing affordability, increasing population has also bought increased social fragmentation in our cities, including major riots, the rise of ethnic-based gangs and increasing intolerance. We see white flight and race segregation in our tertiary schools, as well as ‘Hyper-racialised’ selective schools. All these issues will only get worse with rising population.
Do the people who support our rapid population growth feel that the unaffordable housing, social fragmentation, racial conflict, and racial divisions in our society are going to make Australia a better place to live? For many Australian’s it will make things worse.
And spare a thought for those that are already struggling in our society, the poor and the helpless. In such a society, more and more they will become detritus, lost in a changing world they can’t understand, forgotten by a fragmented society that no longer cares. They’ll be lost in a society that is more concerned about having enough money to bid at a house auction than to give a thought to a fellow Australian.
Nobody has your back
Australian’s never asked for sustained massive immigration. And despite surveys showing the majority of Australian’s would like immigration reduced, no major political party shows any leadership on the issue. The fear of upsetting the plethora of immigration lobby groups, or of being called racist or ‘far right’ prevents the two major political parties from creating any form of sensible immigration or population policy.
To show just how much contempt politicians have for the public when it comes to immigration you just have to look at what occurred after the 2010 federal election. During the campaign the Australian Labor Party ran ads featuring Julia Gillard stating ‘I believe in a sustainable Australia, not a big Australia‘. The year after the election, immigration levels increased by 25%, then by 9% the year after that.
How refreshing would it be if politicians spoke openly and honestly about immigration?
The road ahead
For decades immigrants have been coming to Australia for our affordable housing, good jobs, liveable cities, golden beaches, national parks, our friendly nature and our great way of life. But recently they’ve been coming to Australia in such great numbers that we risk losing the very things that brought them here in the first place.
The statistics tell a story of a country hell-bent on ignoring what makes Australia great, and instead choosing to become a conglomeration of all the world’s nations.
The latest data shows that almost 1 in 3 Australian’s (28%) were born overseas, compared with around 12 and 13% in the UK and the USA respectively. If you include those with at least one parent born overseas, the figure comes to almost half of Australians (49%). Nobody was asked whether we wanted such large volumes of people coming here.
Nobody was asked whether we should throw away our national identity and become a nation of all other nations. Nobody was asked whether we wanted so many places in Australia to look and feel like foreign countries.
With continued mass immigration we are changing Australia irrecoverably, and Australia is losing Australia. Australian’s risk ending up with a country that they neither asked for nor wanted, which will be a worse country for their children to grow up in.
Once the world’s population reaches its peak in 2070, and when countries become richer, fewer people will have an incentive to migrate to Australia. But when this happens these people may no longer want to move to Australia, because Australia will have become a foreign land.