Daniel Wild On 2GB Drive Discussing IPA Migration Analysis – 17 April 2024

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17 April 2024
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On 17 April, the Institute of Public Affairs’ Deputy Executive Director Daniel Wild joined Luke Grant on 2GB Drive to discuss IPA analysis on immigration, which shows how record migration levels are exacerbating Australia’s housing shortage.

All media appearances posted onto the IPA website are directly related to the promotion and dissemination of IPA research

Below is a transcript of the interview.


Luke Grant:

I want to get back to is one of my, I know it’s his pet issue, Doris, he’s going to talk about immigration again and rental markets and things like that. Yes, he is. If you think things are expensive, you’re not wrong in the rental market. Of course, if you are in that market, I’m preaching to the converted somewhat. Sydney’s median weekly rent has surged by 10.2% in the last year. So Sydney’s median weekly rent, the average, 1,053.56, $1,053 and 56 cents. How is it possible to survive in that marketplace? We thank SQM Research, Louis Christopher, a good man, for that number.

The annual cost of rent in Sydney average $54,785. Thank you, Albo. It’s not all his fault but he does own a big part of it. Let me tell you. The Institute of Public Affairs has pointed out that the ABS and their latest overseas arrivals and departures data shows unplanned mass migration reached a record high in February of this year with permanent and long-term arrivals exceeding 100,000 for the first time. What could go wrong, eh?

Albo and Jimbo, they flung open the doors, we’re picking up the pieces. The pie largely is the same. The pie’s got bigger. False growth, more people, more customers, more tax. Aren’t we geniuses? No, you just did what other governments have done. You brought more people in and think that’s smart. Well, put yourself in our place where we have to find a property to rent. And it’s not the fact that we have to find places necessarily for people coming to Australia. What about, and I often think about those people, younger folk that might be leaving the family home for the first time, good luck. Why don’t I have a chat about this with Daniel Wild. He’s the Deputy Executive Director at the Institute of Public Affairs, and I’m delighted to tell you that he’s on the line. Daniel, g’day.

Daniel Wild:

G’day. Nice to be with you again.

Luke Grant:

Good to talk to you, mate. This is madness, isn’t it?

Daniel Wild:

Well, it is madness. Our country is a very welcoming and tolerant country. Ever since World War II, we’ve had a generous migration programme and rightly so but it’s just gone too far. Look, the reality is that migration has to be planned for. You’ve got to have the houses built. You’ve got to have the roads and the schools and the hospitals. You need to make sure that there’s GPs and teachers and nurses that can service the community. That simply hasn’t happened.

I mean, in February alone, more than 100,000 net arrival. So that’s more people who have come here than have left, came into our nation. The first time in history that we’ve had that dramatic intake. Now, the government has said and Clare O’Neil who’s the home affairs minister has said, “Well, the government’s going to halve the intake.” Well, it’s going in the opposite direction. I don’t think the government knows what’s going on.

Luke Grant:

No, she said that last week when she was on, I think, Sunrise on 7 with Senator Hume. She made that point, “We’re about to halve it.” But just some evidence that is in fact what’s going to happen, it’s not there to be seen. You know what? This is not about being anti anyone, anti any group, or any religious group. It’s not about that, it is about just the sense of they have a jobs and skills summit. They say, “Oh, we need more plumbers. We need more carbomers. We need more this. We need more that.” Okay. Fair enough.

But you don’t have to bring in 100,000 people in a month. Because you and I both know, Daniel, that when you do that, you might get 50 or 100 or 200 plumbers. What about the rest of them? They’re going to live somewhere. They’ve got to go to the doctor somewhere, go to school somewhere, drive in a road somewhere. I mean, it’s not un-Australian to say, “This has got to be stopped,” and the government could do it if they just had the ticker and had the belief in it. But they don’t have it. So they won’t stop it because probably Jimbo somewhere in the treasurer’s office is saying, “For God’s sake, don’t cut in immigration. We need it to look like the economy’s growing.”

Daniel Wild:

Well, you’re spot on. Absolutely spot on. There’s a couple of issues there. Firstly, as you rightly pointed out, of course, bringing more people into the economy will make our economy bigger. But what matters is the share of the pie that we’re all getting and we know it’s going backwards. The per capita growth, which is the more important measure of how people are going, has gone backwards for four consecutive quarters.

Now, the last time that happened was in the early 1980s when we were in the middle of a global economic recession. So the pie is getting bigger, but the share that everybody is getting in this country is getting smaller. The other key point you make is, look, we are told that we need to bring in more migrants to plug a skills shortage. And absolutely, we need more skilled people here. But I don’t understand this. Last year, more than a million migrants came to our nation, yet the total number of job vacancies came down by only around 50,000. So a million came in and job vacancies came down by 50,000. That doesn’t add up.

Luke Grant:

No.

Daniel Wild:

Again, who is actually looking at this in the government?

Luke Grant:

Yeah. That is such a good point. I’ve been talking. I know you have too. We both have been. About people who rent and this result from Louis Christopher and the SQM Research team. So a high-income professional earning $180,000 a year, just think about that. This is a high-income professional earning 180K, would now be in housing stress renting the typical house in Australia’s most expensive capital city, that being Sydney. Rent up by 10.2% in the year to April. $1,053, the median rent. Isn’t it extraordinary, Daniel, that we have a situation where if you’re earning 180 grand a year and you want to live in Sydney, you’re in housing stress? What the hell are people going to do?

Daniel Wild:

Well, it’s unbelievable, isn’t it? We’ve seen over the last several months, the actual approvals for new housing continue to go down. Now, that’s largely a state issue, not a federal issue. But the headline point is that the accelerator is being slammed on population growth at the same time as the brakes are being slammed on housing approval so it’s only going to get worse. I think this is just so sad for Australians. Housing and homeownership has always been a critical part of the Australian way of life. It’s one of the things that makes our nation so great.

But now, not only can young Australians basically not afford to get into a house in a capital city. But as you pointed out before, they’re struggling to even rent rent. So they’ve got to stay at home longer with their parents. That delays their development and their basic social skills and getting on with life themselves. So look, it’s not just an economic problem. This is causing a huge humanitarian disaster for our nation.

Luke Grant:

Correct. Correct. Wrongly but predictably, there’ll be resentment. And you want to do things to keep the country united on the same page. And by doing what they’ve done and causing this stress, inevitably and regrettably, there’ll be people who’ll look at this and the country becomes splintered. He splintered us with the voice. He’s done that with the… I won’t say tolerance of antisemitism but by not coming out early and hard on it. And now, policies like this. None of this brings us together which is what we need right now.

Daniel Wild:

Well, it’s a good point. This is a divisive government. And I would add to that the net-zero rollout across the regions which is dividing regional communities with the solar panels and transmission lines. The other point that I would make there is that there is simply no plan for how to fix this problem. You’ve got the home affairs minister, like I said, claiming they’re going to halve the intake. Well, that’s simply not happening. They’ve said we’re going to normalise Australia’s migration intake but I don’t see any plan for how to achieve that. The point I’d make, Luke, is that, as I said, we are a very welcoming and tolerant nation. But all of this must be planned or otherwise Australians, their support will decline for a migration programme.

Luke Grant:

Yeah, I agree. I really agree with that. Daniel Wild, always good to talk, my friend. Stay well Catch you soon.

Daniel Wild:

Pleasure. Thank you.

Luke Grant:

Thank you. Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.

This transcript of Daniel Wild talking on 2GB Drive from 17 April 2024 has been edited for clarity.

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