Saturday, May 31, 2008

Immigrants squeezing native-born Australians out of the housing market

From The Courier Mail:

Migrants push up house prices

Renee Viellaris
May 29, 2008 12:00am

THE Federal Government has admitted that battlers could be squeezed out of the housing market by tens of thousands of new skilled immigrants.

A Senate budget estimates hearing has been told the extra 31,000 permanent skilled migrants will compete with local people for a place to live.

But Immigration Minister Chris Evans played down the issue, saying more skilled migrants would boost the nation's low housing stocks in the long run.

The revelation is bad news for many Australians who have been squeezed out of housing and rental markets by rising costs and a shortage of properties.

In the lead-up to last year's election, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd campaigned on delivering more affordable housing.

Migration deputy secretary Peter Hughes said increasing the permanent skilled migration program - which will stand at 133,500 in the next financial year - would reduce inflationary pressures and cut the cost of housing.

But the answer was not good enough for NSW Senator Marise Payne, who asked: "Where are they going to live? We are underbuilding by 30,000 dwellings a year already in this country."

Senator Evans replied: "They are going to live in the same places that the million people who came in under your government are going to live.

"They may have well made a contribution to the current housing crisis and you're right to express interest in the public policy issues in how next year's intake will impact on the problem."

He said he had spoken within his ministerial counterparts about the problem.

"(Affordable housing is generally) a real problem (and) it's one of the reasons why housing has been a key focus for this Government," he said.

"There are huge pressures on housing in this country and one of the things I'm looking to respond to is the Housing Industry Association's call for the fact they can't get building tradesmen.

"And one of the things I've been pressing the department on is us trying to be responsive in this year's program.

"For the need to find construction workers and bricklayers, carpenters etc, and make the program meet these shortages in Australia."

Mr Hughes also downplayed the pressure it would have on the already-stretched market, but said all immigration over the years had impacted on housing. "Newcomers to the country obviously draw on the housing and accommodation stock," he said.

Exactly how is mass immigration to Australia benefiting the host population again?

Needless to say, Senator Evans' plan to import even more foreigners to address shortages in the building sector is utterly stupid, irresponsible and immoral. Immigration is the problem here, not the solution. As immigration has increased, the rapid population explosion has caused demand for housing to outstrip supply, thus pushing up house prices and fueling the demand for even more immigrants to be imported to construct extra dwellings. This self-generating process has been great for property developers, real estate agents, and the immigrants themselves, but it's the rest of us who have been forced to pay the price for their greed.

Clearly, the best option would be for the government to drastically reduce immigration levels, thereby evening out supply of, and demand for, housing.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rudd Labor Government announces massive increase in immigration

Appalling news from The Australian:

Labor promises massive increase in migration to lure workers

Paul Kelly, Editor-at-Large | May 17, 2008

IMMIGRATION Minister Chris Evans wants a major overhaul of the migrant program to boost numbers, promote unskilled as well as skilled applicants and gear Australia to the new global competition for workers.

Predicting a "great national debate over the next few years", Senator Evans said he planned to bring a series of cabinet submissions to reform a "model that is out of date" and too unresponsive to employer needs. He said the debate about temporary migration was over; the coming debate would be about semi-skilled and unskilled migrants to meet labour shortages.

Next month, cabinet is expected to approve a pilot program for a guest worker scheme from the South Pacific. Senator Evans called this a "stalking horse" for the larger debate on unskilled migration.

His comments came after the Rudd Government's first budget, delivered on Tuesday, lifted permanent and temporary migration for 2008-09 to nearly 300,000 in the biggest annual increase since the program's inception by the Chifley government in the 1940s.

The skilled component of the permanent intake is running at 70 per cent, probably the highest ever.

"My general view is that we are increasingly facing a labour shortage, not just a skills shortage," Senator Evans told The Weekend Australian.

"The demands of business are hitting us in the face. What I'm thinking about is a fairly serious overhaul of the migration system and trying to design a visa and migration system that meets the realities of the 21st century and the internationalisation of the labour market.

"There is a lack of responsiveness to employer needs. What's not widely understood is that there is a global competition for labour. The workforce is more contract based. BHP (Billiton) brings an engineer here from South America for two years and he'll be in Africa two years later. It's the nature of his work."

Asked about the hefty increase in the intake announced on budget night, Senator Evans said: "It was certainly driven by the economics.

"No doubt Wayne Swan had his eyeon wage inflation pressure and Treasury advice about that. But fundamentally it's a response to the huge demand for labour."

Senator Evans said the Government's first response to shortages was more education and training but "the reality is that there are demands now that won't be met by that agenda". This was true in the short-term and long-term.

He said he had two aims - to make the program more responsive to industry and to restore its integrity, notably the457 temporary visas, to eliminate exploitation and any undermining of Australian conditions. This was critical because there was urgent pressure on the 457 program for a shift down the skill scale from professionals such as doctors and engineers to tradesmen and IT workers.

"The demand is often for truck drivers, store managers, below tradesman-level jobs in the mining industry," Senator Evans said. "More broadly we have an ageing population. My inclination is not to do reviews, but get on with it. As a cabinet, we are engaged with this issue.

"I think Australians are prepared to accept strong migration provided they think we need the skills and contributions that people bring."

He foreshadowed a relaxation of the former government's rigid rules about migrants' ability to speak English. Some of its measures were "pretty clunky and actually stopped business operating".

Perhaps Senator Evans would be kind enough to explain how this massive increase in immigration, mostly from the Third World, will benefit the existing Australian population. We hear much about the supposed benefits for all of mass immigration, but I'm yet to see a single study that outlines the specific benefits of mass immigration to this country’s host population. I want to see less clich├ęs and sophisms, and more hard facts. I want to see the full economic costs of immigration taken into consideration. And the social and environmental impacts, as well.

Studies from both Australia and abroad have concluded that immigration has little positive impact on GDP per capita. And the Rudd Government isn't even hiding the fact that it's using immigration to hold down wages. Are immigration enthusiasts seriously claiming that lower wage growth somehow benefits the current citizenry of Australia? And what about the effect of mass immigration on housing affordability? There can be no doubt that large-scale immigration is driving up the demand for housing, pricing native-born Australians out of the market.

There is another major drawback to mass immigration: the destruction of the social, cultural, linguistic, and ethnic cohesion required for national unity. Current immigration policy is not only adversely affecting the living standards of the existing population through a combination of lower wage growth, higher rents and housing costs, more urban congestion, more pollution, and more pressure on public services and infrastructure, it's also threatening the Australian nation itself with ethnic fragmentation.

Not that these inconvenient truths about mass immigration evidently bother Mr. Evans. Who needs to do 'reviews' when you can simply regurgitate fallacious open-borders arguments?

Mr. Evans may claim that he wants to see a "great national debate" about immigration. Yet as long as the Establishment and its media mouthpieces continue to exaggerate the benefits of immigration, while completely ignoring the costs, any real debate seems unlikely.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Transforming Australia... for what?

From The Australian:

'Hidden' migrants drive ethnic change

Ean Higgins May 16, 2008

AUSTRALIA is undergoing an unparalleled movement of people and ethnic change through "hidden immigration", but lacks a comprehensive policy to deal with it, according to an eminent demographer.

Monash University professor Andrew Markus said raw immigration numbers masked the magnitude of a demographic revolution that had produced a population where one in four residents was born overseas.

At 24 per cent, the overseas-born proportion of the population is twice that of the US at 12 per cent, and three times that of England and Wales at 8 per cent, where racial tensions have flared again.

"Opinion polls in England in July 2007 and March 2008 indicated that immigration and race issues are the main concern of electors," Professor Markus said.

He said that while Australians had been tolerant and migrants committed to their new home, strong political leadership was required to convince the nation of the benefits to all of high immigration to avoid a backlash.

Professor Markus presented his analysis at this week's Australian Davos Connection Future Summit.

"The elements of a policy to promote social cohesion within communities characterised by diversity of language and culture are well known - and difficult to implement," he said. "At present, Australia lacks full clarity of vision, coherence and consistency - while the largest movement of people in the country's history is under way."

Speaking to The Australian yesterday, Professor Markus said that although many Australians regarded the rate of immigration as high, they probably had little idea that the transformation was far bigger than they imagined. The usually quoted "headline" number of permanent arrivals - people successfully applying each year for permanent residency from overseas - rose 67 per cent between 1999 and last year, from 84,000 to 140,000. But Professor Markus said this figure failed to include on-shore "conversions" from foreigners on student or temporary work visas to permanent residence.

That number rose from 15,000 in 1999 to 52,000 last year. Taking those figures into account, the annual increase in new permanent residents nearly doubled over the past nine years, from 99,000 to 192,000.

The number of permanent departures - Australians leaving the country without any immediate intention of return -- doubled from 35,000 in 1999 to 72,000 last year.

Many of those departing were taking highly sought skills to more highly paid jobs overseas, Professor Markus said.

Added to an ageing population, future economic growth would require filling Australia's skills shortage largely from overseas. But the result would accelerate the pace of ethnic change, and because immigration had been skewed towards "magnet" destinations, in some areas the transition would be extraordinary, he said.

"With the uneven distribution of the overseas born, this translates to 34.5 per cent of Sydney's population, 31 per cent of Melbourne's, and over 70 per cent in some urban localities," Professor Markus said.

He proposed several measures towards a national policy to make immigration work.

These included challenging disadvantage in education and employment, tackling institutional discrimination, and a "consistent set of policies to be implemented at the community level to promote inter-cultural understanding, bridge building and participation".

Markus is right about Australians being largely oblivious to true extent of the immigration-induced ethnic transformation currently being inflicted upon their country. This is not because Australians are a mob of ignoramuses. Rather, it's because both past and present federal governments have deliberately kept them in the dark over immigration matters.

The truth is that had Australians been asked whether they wanted their country radically changed through mass immigration, the answer would have be a resounding 'No!' So, successive federal governments simply didn't bother to ask and, in order to prevent a backlash, they didn't bother to tell either.

However, Markus is wrong when he claims that more immigration, and thus more ethnic change, is necessary and inevitable. It is neither. Australia could cut its insanely large immigration intake tomorrow without the sky falling in.

Contrary to the myths peddled by the open-borders brigade, immigration is not essential to Australia's future economic prosperity. Immigration does not boost GDP per capita. It does not add more to the supply of labour than it does to its demand. It cannot prevent our population from aging.

In short, there is no compelling reason for this massive build-up in the foreign born population. There is no compelling reason why Australians should allow themselves to be displaced by foreign peoples and cultures. And the sooner Australians realise this, the sooner they can work towards reclaiming some control over their country's future.