Sustainable Population Australia, an advocacy group that campaigns for environmental protection and a better quality of life by ending population growth, has rejected a call by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet for an explosion of new immigrants and a doubling of pre-Covid annual immigration intakes over five years.
It says the Premier’s call is at odds with several experts – including Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe, Professor Judith Sloan and Professor Ross Garnaut. All have cited high immigration as contributing to the past decade’s stagnant wages and rising job insecurity.
Sustainable Population Australia added that last week, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Conservative Party Conference: “What I won’t do is go back to the old [and] failed model of low wages, low skills, supported by uncontrolled immigration.”
It said Australian politicians should take a leaf from Johnson’s book and stand up to the self-interested ‘Big-Australia’ lobby.
Not economic growth at any cost
The organisation’s National President, Jenny Goldie, said Perrottet’s economic-growth-at-any-cost position took no account of environmental and social factors.
“Premier Perrottet stated quite clearly on the day he was installed as Premier that his priorities were the economy over health,” Goldie noted. “His immigration push is now prioritising the economy over the environment and social factors such as providing enough schools and hospitals.
“After Sydneysiders have suffered the overcrowded services and infrastructure of two decades of red-hot population growth prior to the pandemic, it seems this is a brazen attempt by Mr Perrotet to inflict another, even more extreme, dose.”
“For 15 years, until Covid closed our borders, we had massive population growth fuelled largely by immigration that led to infrastructure not keeping up. That led in turn to a decline in standards of living.
Unemployment fell and wages rose
“Since borders closed, however, resident Australians filled many of the jobs normally filled by immigrant workers. Unemployment fell and some employers have lifted wages to attract staff.@
Goldie said it is critical that Australia does not increase its population, either through immigration or natural increase.
“We are losing critical habitat for other species, not least the koala, because of population growth,” she stated. “The more people there are, the greater urban and agricultural expansion to house and feed all the extra people.
“Premier Perrottet must also tell us which countries he is poaching workers from. In the case of health care workers, many will come from countries already in dire need of them. It is not a moral position to take.”