#Budget2016 leaves #immigration targets open

This post was updated on 4 May 2016 – see the section inserted at the foot of this article.

Australia’s national budget for 2016-17 was announced this evening (3 May 2016). It claims to present an ‘economic plan’ for Australia’s future. For all the sloganeering about ‘jobs and growth’, however, the Government has failed to deliver full clarity about the size of the population that will help deliver this plan.

Net overseas migration contributes more people annually to Australia’s population than does natural increase (through births). One would therefore expect the Government to pay close attention to the size of its two immigration programs.

The Humanitarian Program targets are clear. As announced last May, 2016-17 will be the final year of a four year run of 13,750 places p.a., supplemented by the extra 12,000 places announced last September to resettle people displaced by conflicts in Syria and lraq. Future increases that were announced last year have been confirmed tonight: Australia can expect 16,250 places in 2017-18 and 18,750 places in 2018-19. But the Key Performance Indicators from last year have been scrapped, and a new Purpose for the program has been unveiled: ‘Manage the movement and stay of people to ensure a cohesive society’.

Source: Portfolio Budget Statement, p. 47,
Department of Immigration and Border Protection, 3 May 2016.

Mystery surrounds the future size of the Migration Program as reported in the Portfolio Budget Statement. In this current year (2015-16), the target has been 190,000. For coming years, however, the targets are not specified. Instead of firm figures, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection is coy and opaque:

Purposes [of the program]:
Manage the movement and stay of people to ensure a cohesive society.
Manage the movement of people and goods to ensure a strong economy.

Performance criterion: Australia’s visa programs provide a strong foundation for social cohesion.
Target: The non-skilled component of the managed migration program is delivered within planning levels set by the Government for each category.

Performance criterion: Australia’s visa programs are responsive to the needs of the economy.
Targets: The skilled component of the managed migration program is delivered within planning levels set by the Government for each category.
Migration and temporary entry programs do not increase risks to the safety of the Australian community.

Source: Portfolio Budget Statement, p. 44,
Department of Immigration and Border Protection, 3 May 2016.

Given the ability of previous national budgets to declare the annual Migration targets, how should we interpret this lack of specifics about ‘planning levels’?

Either the Government has not yet set its planning levels, or – with an election imminent – it is unwilling to declare them.

Could the public silence relate to what the Government has learned from its recent consultations into the two Programs? The Government has not yet released the findings of its consultation into the Humanitarian Program or its inquiry into Australia’s Migration Intake (#). Perhaps the recommendations from these two investigations are about to influence the new planning levels?

Our submissions to those inquiries (see here and here) called for reductions in each Program because high immigration threatens our economic and environmental sustainability, social cohesion and cultural integrity.

The abstract managerial jargon and obscure ‘planning levels’ used in tonight’s Budget Statement may give the Coalition parties some breathing space to set more tangible targets in the context of their election pledges. Let’s be optimistic and envisage a Coalition policy that promises to REDUCE IMMIGRATION.

What do you think of our analysis? We welcome comments on this website, and feedback via email (reduceimmigration@hotmail.com).


(#)   See here for the Productivity Commission’s status report on its inquiry into the migrant intake; we cannot find any similar status report from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection regarding its inquiry into the Humanitarian Program.

UPDATE (4 May 2016): Our wistful optimism last night was ill-founded. We had missed seeing a post-Budget media release from the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. It reveals the Migration target for 2016-17. We are sorry to report that there are no surprises. Once again, for the fourth year in a row, the Government has set the target at 190,000. Nevertheless, it’s fascinating that the target hadn’t been agreed on in time for the printing deadline for the official Budget Papers.

We recently noted that Australia’s two immigration programs add the equivalent of Hobart’s population each year. And as Mark Moncrieff points out in his Comment, below, this high growth would deliver an extra 2 million immigrants across a decade if the targets stay constant.

The need to write REDUCE IMMIGRATION on ballot papers at the coming federal election is therefore unchanged. Spread the word to your friends, colleagues and family about how to share the REDUCE IMMIGRATION message!



One thought on “#Budget2016 leaves #immigration targets open

  1. Hello

    I wish I was as optimistic as you appear to be, but the reason the Government, of either Party, stays quiet is so that it seems that we all agree with their policy. If you are correct and I see no reason for you not to be, 190,000 people a year means nearly 2,000,000 within a decade. With basically no public discuss.

    And that’s how they like it, our Representatives who never seem to actually represent us.

    Keep up the good fight!

    Mark Moncrieff
    Upon Hope Blog – A Traditional Conservative Future

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