NSWs share of immigration modest … the solutions to congestion problems lie elsewhere

20 August 2010

Former NSW Premier, Nathan Rees, is wrong to perpetuate the myth that most immigrants settle in Sydney, according to the Urban Taskforce. On the day before an election where population policy has been a major issue, Mr Rees has claimed that Sydney takes 55 per cent of Australia’s migrants, which places pressure on service delivery.

The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said Mr Rees was mistaken.


Just 29.9 per cent of Australias net migration intake ends up in NSW, Mr Gadiel said.


Prior to the dramatic rise in property prices in the late 1990s and early 2000s, NSW maintained a 42 per cent share of national net overseas migration.


But over the past decade, the NSW share of overseas migration has fallen substantially, settling at about 30 per cent over the past three years.


The cut in Sydneys share of immigration has done nothing to make Sydney a better place in fact its got worse.


By cutting immigration, local and state governments have been denied the benefit of new taxpayers and businesses have been denied the opportunity to employ new skilled workers.


This has driven economic activity interstate as a result governments have had even less money to invest in making Sydney better.


ABS figures show that, relative to our population, NSW now accepts roughly the same level of overseas migration as Victoria and Queensland and less than Western Australia.


Mr Gadiel said that Sydney is clearly suffering congestion problems, but its rate of population growth is modest when compared with the rest of Australia.


In the five years to June 2009, Sydney only saw an annual population increase of 1.3 per cent a year, slower than the national growth rate of 1.8 per cent, Mr Gadiel said.


Melbourne has grown at a rate of 2 per cent a year.


Brisbane has had an annual growth rate of 2.3 per cent, and Perth has had an annual growth rate of 2.6 per cent.


Population growth is not the source of the congestion problem a lack of new infrastructure and misdirected town planning policies are the real culprits.


Today the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting Jeff Angel of the Total Environment Centre told a public forum yesterday that The only answer is [for] … more high-density housing around better rail links.


This must be interpreted as an implicit attack on the Greens Party, Mr Gadiel said.


The Greens Party are the biggest opponents of new apartment development around high quality public transport.


Nearly every single major Sydney urban renewal project has been attacked by the Greens.


At times the party has been successful in reducing the opportunities for some people to live and work close to public transport.


The opposition of the Greens is bizarre, because these projects are crucial to reducing Sydneys car dependence and congestion problems.


I would urge Mr Angel to discuss his views with the Greens Party.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.


Download PDF Version