The Australian Budget, announced on 8 May 2018, makes no change to the planned level of permanent immigration.
Here’s the official statement by the Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, about this larger component of Australia’s immigration program:
In 2018-19, the portfolio will maintain 2017-18 levels (up to 190,000 places)
A number of visa categories within the program seem designed to incentivise migration to regional areas.
The other component is the humanitarian program. This appears to be unchanged as well (i.e. 16,250 places per annum), because the Ministerial Statement does not mention any alteration:
The portfolio supports humanitarian settlement in regional Australia by working with the Department of Social Services, local and state government, community groups and service providers.
The Big Australia agenda underpinning these continuingly high levels of immigration is clear in the Ministerial Statement:
Australia’s migration program continues to support Australia’s growth—stimulating economic growth, addressing skills shortages, and contributing to diversity and multiculturalism.
Several commentators overnight have pointed out that the Budget is simply a band-aid for the adverse effects of high immigration on our environmental and economic sustainability, social cohesion and cultural integrity.
Here are some examples:
Terry McCrann, ‘Budget a good fiscal and political balance’, Herald Sun, 8 May 2018:
[Any long-term budget surplus] pivots on our high immigration-strong population growth dynamic, provided, crucially, there are jobs to be got.
Andrew Bolt, ‘Many Budget winners, but Liberals aren’t among them’, Herald Sun, 8 May 2018:
[The budget is] all paid for by a cash windfall, massive immigration and a gamble that the economy will improve faster than many economists predict.
Judith Sloan, ‘Budget 2018: optimistic forecasts crowd out an immigration fix’, The Australian, 9 May 2018:
Clearly the “wets” in the cabinet (and that is most of them) couldn’t bring themselves to reach the obvious conclusion that the migrant intake is excessive and is causing all sorts of problems, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney. The fact that there are a number of entirely inadequate and disruptive “congestion busting” measures contained in the budget indicates that the government knows the perceived, rapid loss of urban amenity is an issue in the electorate.
Peta Credlin, ‘Turnbull’s left turn pushes Shorten to extremes’, The Australian, 9 May 2018:
… the new $1bn Urban Congestion Fund … is a missed opportunity to open up a debate on Australia’s rate of immigration, one of the highest in the developed world.
Instead, Turnbull will use the fund to tell fed-up city dwellers that everything is OK when it’s clear that the majority of Australians, in poll after poll, want a population plan for the future.
In our pre-Budget post about the apparent increase in awareness about immigration, we documented some of the polls to which Credlin refers.
Now that it’s clear that the government won’t listen to published advice on the importance of reducing immigration, and intends only to patch things up with band-aids, it’s up to all of us to spread the message as best we can.
We recommend writing REDUCE IMMIGRATION in the clear blank space at the top of your ballot papers, whenever you have the opportunity to vote.