SUSTAINABLE POPULATION & IMMIGRATION - AUSTRALIA
Population is a local and global issue. Like climate change, population requires local action in order to achieve global outcomes.
- Rapid population growth is unsustainable and undesirable, regardless of whether it comes from high immigration or high native fertility.
- Sustainable Australia is opposed to restrictions on family size and coercive efforts to reduce fertility.
- Sustainable Australia is for immigration, being sustainable immigration, which will help maintain social cohesion and long term public support for immigration by addressing the public's growing frustration with too much immigration too soon.
- Sustainable Australia is opposed to discrimination of immigrants based on race (ethnicity) or religion.
- Our immigration practices should not be ethnically or religiously based, but they must allow for much more intensive screening, of and support for, all prospective immigrants than is currently the case. There are serious dangers in not devoting sufficient resources to managing our record high immigration intake. The Department is simply overloaded with work. Lowering our immigration intake back to the sustainable long-term average level (see below) will help the Australian Government to recover and secure a sustainable Australia.
- According to the International Monetary Fund, seven out of the top ten per capita GDP countries have populations under 10 million.
- Current growth projections have Australia on target to grow from 24 million (2016) to over 40 million by 2050.
Further key reasons for stabilising Australia's population are outlined here: CLICK HERE
Australia should slow its population growth, aiming for a population target of around 26-30 million through to 2050.
Policy Methods (Federal)
To help achieve this Australia should:
- Lower its annual permanent immigration program from the current record of around 200,000 back to around 70,000, being its average annual permanent intake level during the twentieth century.(1)
- Limit government baby bonus-style birth payments to each woman’s first two children.(2)
Further Policy Detail
We propose the following supplementary population policies:
- Provide universal access to free contraception and reproductive health advice.
- Abolish the open borders Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement with New Zealand, and open discussions on a preferential Australia-New Zealand migration agreement within the total annual permanent immigration programme.
- Remove immigration from all trade agreements and instead manage it wholly through the official ‘Migration Programme’.
- Encourage population decentralisation and regional revitalisation into inland areas experiencing significant population decline, including through regional relocation grants and migration settlement policies.
Conduct a comprehensive enquiry into Australia’s immigration program, including the audit and review of all permanent and temporary immigration programs, in order to assess their efficiency and validity for Australia’s immigration policy mix. This would include fully reviewing:
- Temporary work visas with a view to limiting their use to tertiary-qualified applicants for specialised jobs, increasing up-front fees and more stringently testing the local market before employment.
- Reducing working rights (hours per week) for unskilled and semi-skilled foreign students in order to increase job opportunities for Australia’s lower socio-economic demographic, including youth looking for entry level job opportunities.
- The poaching of skilled professionals from the developing world, which robs poor communities of much needed health and technical expertise.
Policy Methods (State)
To help achieve this States should:
- Withdraw the States, Territories and their government agencies from proactive population growth policies including:
- Programs marketing states and territories to prospective international residents.
- All Department of Immigration permanent and temporary visa programs including Regional Sponsored Migration Schemes, State/Territory Sponsored Business Owners and State/Territory Sponsored Investors.
- Also see REFUGEES & ASYLUM SEEKERS policy.
- This would reduce annual permanent immigration from over 200,000, and include flexible skilled, family reunion and humanitarian (refugee and asylum seeker) components (our humanitarian intake would be maintained at current levels, being around 14,000-20,000). Source for both average twentieth century immigration level and recent permanent departure numbers is The Australian Population Research Institute: CLICK HERE
If the major parties don't introduce this policy, Australia should hold a stand-alone national 'population plebiscite' asking:
"Australia should lower its annual permanent immigration program from the current record of over 200,000 back to around 70,000, being its average annual permanent intake level during the twentieth century" - or similar, to offer the choice to stabilise Australia's population at around 26-30 million people by 2050.
- This would only apply to children born 9 months after it was passed into legislation.
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