As per Prof. Peter McDonald, Demography Expert, Australia should increase its PR quota. Scott Morrison, PM, announced the reduction of the immigration intake to 160,000 in March. This was done to appease voters who were worried about job security and congestion.
As per the Prof., without Sydney and Melbourne, the country would have only been a backwater. He believes that Australia should keep the annual quota of PR Visas at 190,000.
Prof. McDonald addressed the Infrastructure Summit of the Australian Financial Review. He said in the summit that the immigration intake target should not have been reduced.
Prof. McDonald also added that Australia is staring at a potential labour crunch. 2 million Baby Boomers are nearing retirement in Australia. These workers will not be replaced by the younger lot. This is because the younger generation is not growing as much. The younger Australians are also staying in education longer which is adding to the labour crisis.
To address this impending labour crunch, immigration is the only solution, as per the Prof. He thus believes, that the annual quota should have remained at 190,000, as quoted by the AFR.
Reducing immigration number is in no way helping decongest Sydney and Melbourne, said the Prof. He believes that 10,000 of the immigration cut may have gone to these cities. However, the demand for labour in these two cities is very high and will remain so in the future too. These cities will need to fulfil their labour demands from other places and the first place they will target will be Adelaide, he said.
A majority of the Baby Boomers were also employed in low-skilled jobs. These positions are not being filled by migrants. Thus, a cut in immigration will also cause a dearth of low-skilled workers.
Prof. McDonald said that Australia had transformed significantly after the end of the mining boom. Instead of Brisbane and Perth, workers moved to places like Sydney and Melbourne. However, these big cities are the future of Australia and they are key in attracting overseas workers, said the Prof.
Chief Executive of Infrastructure Australia, Romilly Madew, said that Australia should carefully plan its infrastructure projects. These projects should be aligned with the population growth in the cities to ensure that the cities remain livable.
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