The increasing pressure upon our housing requirements due to population growth is now a very serious problem and it just gets worse.
BRAG has been very critical of the government's short term quick fix strategy of cramming more and more into less by "making Melbourne a more compact city" using the flawed Melbourne 2030 planning policy. We have also been critical of the Brumby Government advertising overseas for migrants and students to come to Melbourne on the promise of a chance to gain permanent residency.
Migration is at record levels with :-
permanent migrants arriving during 2008/2009 totalling 171 318
arriving from New Zealand 47 780
refugees accepted 13 500
Plus temporary migrants *** 657 124
Total 889 722
*** skilled workers, students, and long term holiday migrants with work permits. Many of these have rights to permanent residency. All add to the difficulties in providing housing and add to the demands upon our resources, placing pressure upon our infrastructure and fragile envirionment.
It should also be noted that much of our immigration control has been outsourced to agents, employers bringing in "skilled" (?) workers, universities and some very questionable education providers.
This total of nearly 900,000 compares with 400,000 migrants who arrived on our shores during the previous year.
A review of Australia's migration strategies is long overdue but we are concerned that, due to pressure on governments from the development industry, the education lobby and employers wanting cheap labour, any review may be of limited value.
We say our politicians' major responsibility is to their existing constituents, not to lobbyists and those who want to come to our shores for whatever reason.
The time to act is now.
(See our item on population growth below).
An interesting and provocative attack upon water conservation has been made in a book "Overloading Australia" arguing that immigration and baby bonus policies are at odds with plans to reduce carbon emissions and secure water supplies.
The authors Mark O'Connor and William Lines say that the task of simultaneously increasing population and achieving sustainability is impossible until we get restraint in population growth.
They go further by suggesting that we should ignore water conservation, forcing politicians to rethink population and migration policies.
Perhaps that is going too far but something has to be done to make our politicians regain control of immigration and dictating how many and who comes into this country.
Our politicians both state and federal need to take a good hard look at themselves and provide some sensible responsibility for this issue.