National Accounts Show Australians Are Going Backwards

Written by:
6 March 2024
National Accounts Show Australians Are Going Backwards - Featured image

“The federal government’s unplanned mass migration program is driving the decline in GDP per capita, as shown by today’s National Accounts. While the overall size of the economic pie may be growing, it is leaving Australians with an even smaller slice,” said Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.

Released today, the December 2023 quarter National Accounts statistics paint a dire picture for Australian households as GDP per capita, a far more precise measure of living standards than headline economic growth, declined for the fourth quarter in a row.

“The last time there were four straight quarters of GDP per capita decline was over 40 years ago in 1983. Today’s figures show that Australians are getting left behind at a time when cost of living pressures are acute,” said Mr Wild.

Recently, the IPA released research analysing the growth of Australia’s migration program, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data, which showed:

  • 2023 was the first year in history where Australia’s permanent and long-term arrivals topped one million, at 1,091,210.
  • Net migration arrivals for 2023 were 447,790, by far the highest on record, the second highest occurring in 2008 at 327,680.

“The current unplanned migration intake is placing immense pressure on housing and our critical infrastructure, has not solved our worker shortage crisis, and is leaving Australians worse off,” said Mr Wild.

“The National Accounts show that the lazy, short-sighted growth strategy of mass migration is simply not delivering better outcomes for ordinary Australians. The federal government must deliver sustainable economic growth through increased productivity, not merely by relying on migration.”

“Migration has and will continue to play a critical role to our national social fabric and economy, but failure to undertake proper planning has directly driven housing shortages, household cost of living increases and has placed pressure on our education, health, and welfare systems,” said Mr Wild.

To download the IPA’s research on Australia’s record migration intake click here.

Per capita GDP growth quarterly change table over page.

Chart: Per capita GDP growth – Quarterly percentage change

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