IS IMMIGRATION FILLING AN EMPTY AUSTRALIA?
One of the sillier excuses for flooding Australia with immigrants is that we have to fill the empty interior of the country. What is happening is that many regional areas have a falling population and about three-quarters of immigrants settle in three cities, namely Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. In fact it has been suggested that migrants be forced to settle in rural areas where there is said to be a shortage of workers. International students could be forced to study at regional universities to help ease overcrowding in capital cities. (1)
The fall in population in some rural areas is pretty significant. Based on the 2016 Census the populations of the Leonora and Wiluna local government areas in Western Australia fell by 43.8% and 36.0% while in Queensland, Burke and Dundas fell by 36.1% and 32.5% respectively. (2)
In the twelve months ending March 2018 Australia’s population increased by 1.6% with Victoria increasing by 2.2% and Queensland by 1.7%. At the same time South Australia’s population only increased by 0.7% and the Northern Territory by a mere 0.1%. (3)
It’s obvious that flooding our country with migrants is not filling our vast “empty” spaces and is probably drawing away government infrastructure spending and other investment that could stimulate growth in regional areas. The likelihood that immigrants could be forced to stay in these areas is pretty dubious and probably impossible to enforce. However tax breaks for anyone working and living in the poorer rural areas would help stimulate spending and investment which in turn would increase the number of jobs and attract more people.
(1) Jessica Irvine, “A Growing Debate for a Growing Nation”, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 October 2018; Sheradyn Holderhead, “Visa Students Will be Made to Go Bush”, Daily Telegraph, 20 September 2018
(2) https://www.9news.com.au/national/2017/07/19/14/29/the-fastest-shrinking-towns-in-... Downloaded 20 October 2018