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Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Andrew Barr calls for more migrants than before pandemic

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Australia is on the verge of an immigration explosion with government leaders from both major parties enthusiastically endorsing a bigger intake.

Before the pandemic, Australia had a net annual immigration pace of more than 200,000 people and a population growth rate of 1.5 per cent that was almost double the developed world average.

From Wednesday next week, fully-vaccinated foreigners with a working or student visa will be allowed into Australia again for the first time since March 2020.

Up to 160,000 students and 50,000 skilled workers are expected to return to Australia in the next few months.

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Australia is on the verge of an immigration explosion with government leaders from both major parties enthusiastically endorsing a bigger intake (pictured is a barista in Sydney)

Australia is on the verge of an immigration explosion with government leaders from both major parties enthusiastically endorsing a bigger intake (pictured is a barista in Sydney)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement of a 200,000 intake – in December and January alone – would almost surpass the level for an entire financial year before the Covid pandemic. 

Now the Australian Capital Territory’s Labor Chief Minister Andrew Barr wants Australia to take even more migrants and refugees than before the pandemic.

‘I would argue for an increased migration program, with an increased in skilled migration and an increase in the refugee and humanitarian intake over the coming years,’ he told the ABC’s Q&A program on Thursday night.

‘I think we can do that and we can have an unemployment rate nationally below 4 per cent. We have the economic conditions and opportunity to achieve that now.’

Before the pandemic, Australia had a net annual immigration rate of 239,700 in 2018-19.

This fell to 154,100 in 2019-20, with the period covering the first three months of the pandemic.

Now the Australian Capital Territory's Labor Chief Minister Andrew Barr wants Australia to take even more migrants than before the pandemic

Now the Australian Capital Territory’s Labor Chief Minister Andrew Barr wants Australia to take even more migrants than before the pandemic

Since mid-2013, Australian wages have grown below the three-decade average of 3 per cent and in the year to September, they grew by 2.2 per cent , equaling the level of March 2020 after dropping late last year.

House prices keep surging in Australia

SYDNEY: Up 30.4 per cent to $1,333,767

MELBOURNE: Up 19.5 per cent to $972,659

BRISBBANE: Up 24.8 per cent to $731,392

ADELAIDE: Up 22.5 per cent to $591,558

PERTH: Up 16.7 per cent to $550,044

HOBART: Up 27.2 per cent $726,955

DARWIN: Up 17.1 per cent to $567,056

CANBERRA: Up 29 per cent to $985,040

Source: CoreLogic data in median house price increases in the year to October 2021

Pay growth is below the decade-average of 2.4 per cent. 

In the year to October, Australian house and apartment price surged by 21.6 per cent – the fastest annual pace since 1989, CoreLogic data showed.

The mid-point Australian property price of $686,339 is now so expensive an Australian on an average, full-time salary of $90,329 would be in mortgage stress paying off a $550,000 loan with a 20 per cent deposit.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority considers a debt-to-income ratio of six or more to be risky because a borrower would struggle to pay their bills.  

In Sydney, median house prices have surged by 30.4 per cent in a year to an even more unaffordable $1.334million, a level beyond the reach of most income earners on six figures unless they were buying as part of a working couple.

Millionaire businessman Dick Smith, a campaigner against high immigration, said house prices surged, in the absence of immigration, as investors and owner-occupiers alike anticipated population growth to climb again and underpin real estate values.

‘One of the reasons that house prices remained high is that everyone is convinced that the government – whichever government’s in – is going to increase immigration because they’re completely addicted to it,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

In Sydney, median house prices have surged by 30.4 per cent in a year to an even more unaffordable $1.334million, a level beyond the reach of most income earners on six figures unless they were buying as part of a working couple (pictured is an auction at Strathfield in Sydney's inner west)

In Sydney, median house prices have surged by 30.4 per cent in a year to an even more unaffordable $1.334million, a level beyond the reach of most income earners on six figures unless they were buying as part of a working couple (pictured is an auction at Strathfield in Sydney’s inner west)

‘Many of the wealthy, I’d say most, have no interest in whether a young couple can afford a house or not.’

Australia’s population growth

1881: 2.3 million

1918: 5 million

1959: 10 million

1981: 15 million

1991: 17.4 million

2004: 20 million

2013: 23 million

2016: 24 million

2018: 25 million

2020: 25.7million

2061*: 38.8million

* Treasury Intergenerational Report, 2021 forecast

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

The past 40 years have seen Australia’s population grow at an average, annual pace of 1.4 per cent – among the highest in the developed world.

Australia’s population surpassed the 20 million mark in 2003, hit the 23 million mark in April 2013 and reached 24 million in February 2016.

The 25 million milestone was reached in August 2018, 24 years earlier than Treasury anticipated in its inaugural Intergenerational report of 2002.

But the pandemic interrupted that trajectory. 

Between June and September last year, Australia’s population fell by 4,200 people or 0.02 per cent, as more people left than arrived and births failed to make up the shortfall.

This was the first population decline since 1916.

Covid bans on immigration are expected to reduce population growth to 0.1 per cent in 2020-21, the lowest in more than a century. 

Net annual migration in the 2020-21 financial year was forecast by Treasury to fall by 71,600, marking the first negative number since 1946, when departures were subtracted from arrivals.

From December 1,  vaccinated citizens of Japan and South Korea will also be allowed in without quarantining, as well as people on humanitarian visas.

A Resolve Strategic poll for 9Fairfax newspapers published this week found 58 per cent of respondents want Australia, upon reopening, to accept fewer migrants than before the pandemic.



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