Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Reducing Migration is Commonsense

Victoria’s Planning Minister Matthew Guy’s comment that cutting migration would be ridiculous is very revealing. Matthew Guy, and other Planning Ministers before him, and other State Governments, usually try to sound apologetic when they inflict planning horrors on local communities- “we’re sorry but we have no choice, our increasing population has to go somewhere”. But here, talking to the Property Council, Mr Guy is unrepentant and expresses himself to be quite content with Victoria’s rapid growth rate.

Mr Guy’s reference to the 50s and 60s attempts to paint Victoria’s and Australia’s current migration and population growth as normal. It is not. For a range of years in the 1980s and 1990s net overseas migration was well under 100,000. A massive spike began during the Howard years. In 2004, it was 100,000. It then rose to 124,000 in 2005, 147,000 in 2006, and 178,000 in 2007. It continued to rise after the change of government, going to 200,000 and then 300,000. Victoria is getting more of this migration than any other State. Melbourne’s population is increasing by 200 per day, 1500 per week, 75,000 per each year. This is a larger increase than anything we have faced before.

Like other people with a weak argument, Mr Guy sets up straw men. He says “there are some still who say if we cut off all overseas migration tomorrow that is the answer to all of our problems”. No-one says that. No-one advocates cutting off all overseas migration- I advocate returning to the net 70,000 of the 1980s and 1990s- and no-one says this will solve all our problems.

Mr Guy says that even without migration Melbourne will still add the population of Adelaide (an extra 1.2million increase) by 2050. This may well be correct, but an increase of 1.2 million for Melbourne will create more than enough work and pressure for Mr Guy and his successors, and more than enough work for the Property Council, without them advocating even more rapid population growth with all the attendant traffic, planning, affordability, cost of living, social and environmental problems that come with that. Advocating growth beyond this natural increase is greedy and short-sighted.

1 comment:

  1. As always the voice of reason Kelvin. Thanks for your ongoing efforts in highlighting what is now such an urgent issue.