07 Aug As the east coast struggles with population numbers, South Australia is desperate for a boost
WHILE officials say Australia can’t cope with its growing population. one struggling state is desperate to boost numbers.
While officials say our country can’t cope with our growing population rate, one Aussie state is desperate to boost its numbers. FOR the past six months, Australia has been embroiled in a debate over our population. But as Tony Abbott, Dick Smith and Bob Carr advocate for us to halve our migrant intake, other parts of the country are pleading for more workers. South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said his state desperately needs more people, asking the Federal Government for “preferential migrant status” to encourage foreign students and skilled migrant workers to come to his state. He described a “two-speed economy” where some parts of the country are struggling to cope with their high population numbers, while others are having the opposite problem.
“Last financial year we had about a 10,000 increase. Victoria had a 10,000-person increase every 26 days. Regional Queensland grew at treble the entire South Australian population growth. We would ultimately like to negotiate a preferential migration status for South Australia, especially around increasing regional population and international students,” Mr. Marshall said, according to The Australian. He said massive skills shortages were impacting South Australia’s economy, saying there’s a “mismatch between the skills and desires to work in certain industries”. South Australian Premier Steven Marshall wants more migrants in his state. Australia’s population is set to hit 25 million next month and projected to reach 36 million by 2050. Sydney and Melbourne are expected to make up a collective 16 million of that — almost half.
According to ABS data, Adelaide is projected to experience a smaller increase, from 1.3 million to 1.9 million over the next three decades. In a recent interview with news.com.au, Bob Carr warned Australia’s major cities are heading towards overpopulation at the expense of our natural landmarks. He argued that even if we were to push more money into infrastructure and transport, our major cities — in particular, Melbourne and Sydney — would still see a fundamental change.
“I think turning the Sydney basin into, substantially, a region of tower dwelling follows — as night follows day — from the rapid rate of population growth we’re committed to,” he told news.com.au. Some have suggested Sydney and Melbourne won’t be able to handle our nation’s population growth for much longer. Australia currently accepts 190,000 migrants per year under its annual quota. “Ninety percent of the annual intake goes to Sydney or Melbourne,” Mr. Carr said. “Even with the best planning and the biggest infrastructure spends, you still change the character of the city, and I think we’re entitled to think through that a bit more. “My concern is the conversion of Australia’s east coast to one of the towers. That’s what Australia looks like if we’ve got a population of 40 million. Our immigration levels in the developed world are the highest in proportion with our population across the developed world, and there’s very little thought given to the consequences of that.”
In May, Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge said the Government was considering new visa rules that would see migrants living in rural areas. “There are many regions in Australia that are now facing skilled labour shortages and we are working with regional leaders and businesses to find solutions,” he told news.com.au in May. “Many migrants are sponsored for permanent residence on the basis of an intent to live and work in regional Australia but don’t stay long in the region once they have their permanent visa. This is obviously not ideal and contributes to the labour shortages.”