Australia’s growing population could result in targeted immigration policies

by Ray Clancy on August 13, 2018

in Australia Immigration

Australia’s population has exceeded 25 million, increasing by the equivalent of one person every one minute and 23 seconds, according to official figures, amid calls for migration to be targeted towards regional areas.

Much of the growth is led by people moving to Australia to live and work, with one person arriving to live in Australia every minute, the data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) population clock shows.

Population Growth

(By Katty2016/Shutterstock.com)

ABS director of demography, Anthony Grubb, explained that Australia’s population has experienced major changes with numbers up six fold since 1901 when it was 3.8 million.

By 1918 it had grown to five million, it then doubled to 10 million by 1959 and reached 20 million in October 2004. It has been just over 2.5 years since it reached 24 million in January 2016.

There has also been change in terms of where people go to live. In 1901 some 36% of Australians lived in capital cities and 64% in other urban and rural areas in Australia. In 2017, this has reversed with 67% living in capital cities and 33% in other urban and rural areas.

Over the past three years, Australia’s population has grown by around 400,000 people per year. If this trend continues, the country’s population would be expected to reach 26 million in about three years’ time.

It is hoped that more overseas workers arriving in Australia can be persuaded to take up jobs outside of the main cities. For example, 87% of skilled migrants who arrived last year moved to Sydney and Melbourne.

Citizenship Minister Alan Tudge said in a speech to the Business Council that more needs to be done to create a greater geographic spread of migration, to relieve pressure on housing and infrastructure.

‘At the moment, nearly all the migration is to our two largest cities. Meanwhile, we have other parts of Australia wanting more people. South Australian premier Steven Marshall, for example, has said that they would like an additional 15,000 migrants a year. I have regional mayors telling me they want hundreds more in their area,’ he pointed out.

‘We want the best and brightest from the around the world. We need to not just be open to facilitating skilled migrants coming here, but in the case of the global super talent, actively seeking them out,’ he explained.

Tudge indicated that the Government is looking to formal programmes to push migration to regional areas where there is a demand for particular skills. One plan under consideration is customised labour agreements negotiated directly between a business bringing in workers and the Department of Home Affairs to cover specific regional areas.

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