Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister Andrew Barr calls for more migrants than before the pandemic

Australia is on the brink of an immigration explosion with government leaders from both major parties enthusiastically supporting a greater influx.

Before the pandemic, Australia had a net annual immigration rate of more than 200,000 people and a population growth rate of 1.5 percent, almost double the average in the developed world.

From next Wednesday, fully vaccinated foreigners with a work or student visa will be allowed to re-enter Australia for the first time since March 2020.

160,000 students and 50,000 skilled workers are expected to return to Australia in the coming months.

Australia is on the brink of an immigration explosion with heads of government from both major parties enthusiastically supporting increased intake (pictured is a barista in Sydney)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement of a take-up of 200,000 – in December and January alone – would nearly surpass the level of an entire fiscal year before the Covid pandemic.

Now the Labor Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, Andrew Barr, wants Australia to take in even more migrants and refugees than before the pandemic.

“I would argue for a larger migration program, with an increase in skilled migration and an increase in refugee and humanitarian influx in the coming years,” he told ABC’s Q&A program on Thursday evening.

“I think we can do that and we can have an unemployment rate of less than 4 percent nationally. We now have the economic conditions and the opportunity for that.’

Before the pandemic, Australia had a net annual immigration of 239,700 in 2018-19.

This fell to 154,100 in 2019-20, with the period spanning the first three months of the pandemic.

Now Labor Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, Andrew Barr, wants Australia to take in even more migrants than before the pandemic

Now Labor Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, Andrew Barr, wants Australia to take in even more migrants than before the pandemic

Since mid-2013, Australian wages have grown below the three-decade average of 3 percent and increased by 2.2 percent in the year to September, equal to the March 2020 level after falling late last year.

House prices continue to rise in Australia

SYDNEY: 30.4 percent up to $1,333,767

MELBOURNE: up 19.5 percent to $972,659

BRISBBANE: Up 24.8 percent to $731.392

ADELAIDE: Up 22.5 percent to $591,558

PERTH: 16.7 percent up to $550,044

HOBART: Up to 27.2 percent $726,955

DARWIN: up 17.1 percent to $567,056

CANBERRAE: Up 29 percent to $985,040

Source: CoreLogic data in median home price increases in the year to October 2021

Wage growth is below the decade average of 2.4 percent.

In the year to October, Australian home and apartment prices rose 21.6 percent — the fastest annual rate since 1989, CoreLogic data showed.

The average Australian property price of $686,339 is now so expensive that an Australian with an average full-time salary of $90,329 would have to pay a $550,000 mortgage with a 20 percent down payment.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority considers a debt-to-income ratio of six or more risky because a borrower would struggle to pay their bills.

In Sydney, median home prices have risen 30.4 percent in a year to an even more prohibitive $1,334 million, a level beyond the reach of most six-figure income earners unless they bought as part of a working couple.

Millionaire businessman Dick Smith, an anti-immigration campaigner, said house prices rose, without immigration, as both investors and owner-occupiers expected population growth to pick up again and support property values.

“One of the reasons house prices have remained high is that everyone is convinced that the government – whatever government there is – will increase immigration because they are completely addicted to it,” he told the Daily Mail Australia.

In Sydney, median home prices are up 30.4 percent in a year to an even more prohibitive $1,334 million, a level beyond the reach of most six-figure income earners unless they bought as part of a working couple (pictured). is an auction in Strathfield in Sydney's west)

In Sydney, median home prices are up 30.4 percent in a year to an even more prohibitive $1,334 million, a level beyond the reach of most six-figure income earners unless they bought as part of a working couple (pictured). is an auction in Strathfield in Sydney’s west)

“Many of the rich, I would say most, have no interest in whether a young couple can afford a house or not.”

Population growth in Australia

1881: 2.3 million

1918: 5 million

1959: 10 million

1981: 15 million

1991: 17.4 million

2004: 20 million

2013: 23 million

2016: 24 million

2018: 25 million

2020: 25.7 million

2061*: 38.8 million

* Treasury Intergenerational Report, 2021 forecast

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Over the past 40 years, Australia’s population has grown at an average annual rate of 1.4 percent – one of the highest in the developed world.

Australia’s population crossed the 20 million mark in 2003, reached 23 million in April 2013, and reached 24 million in February 2016.

The 25 million milestone was reached in August 2018, 24 years earlier than Treasury had anticipated in its inaugural 2002 Intergenerational Report.

But the pandemic interrupted that trajectory.

Between June and September last year, Australia’s population fell by 4,200 people, or 0.02 percent, as more people left than arrived and births did not make up for the shortfall.

This was the first population decline since 1916.

Covid bans on immigration are expected to reduce population growth to 0.1 percent by 2020-21, the lowest in more than a century.

Net annual migration in fiscal year 2020-21 was forecast by the Treasury at 71,600, the first negative figure since 1946, when departures were subtracted from arrivals.

From December 1, vaccinated citizens of Japan and South Korea will also be allowed to enter without quarantine, as well as people with a humanitarian visa.

A Resolve Strategic survey for 9Fairfax newspapers published this week found that 58 percent of respondents want Australia to accept fewer migrants upon reopening than before the pandemic.

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