Australia’s population growth driving up house prices: Carr

Former Labor foreign minister and NSW premier Bob Carr says the country’s immigration and population growth rates are hurting house prices and the economy.

Feb 16, 2016, updated Feb 16, 2016
Former foreign minister Bob Carr

Former foreign minister Bob Carr

Carr says Australia’s “breakneck” population growth is flooding major cities and putting huge pressure on house prices.

Australia’s population ticked over to 24 million overnight, on the back of record net overseas migration in the year to July 2015.

“We’ve got a third-world style population growth rate and I think the Australian people need to be alerted to this,” he told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.

“There’s a case for pegging immigration back by easily a third, perhaps 50 per cent.

“We are going for breakneck population growth and it’s all about supply and demand.”

The former NSW premier said Australia’s growth rate outstripped Indonesia’s and was the highest of any developed country.

Carr said a “hugely over-ambitious” approach to migration devised by Canberra bureaucrats was putting astonishing pressure on the housing market and causing crippling congestion.

“No matter how much governments spend on infrastructure, at this level of population growth, it’s always never enough,” he said.

“It’s a nice idea to decentralise, but people come to the big cities.

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“All of Australia’s population growth will be settled in a narrow band along eastern Australia.”

Carr said Australia’s population growth was bound to reach breaking point.

“There comes a point, given we’ve only got a narrow fertile coastal strip, when at 40 million, 50 million, 70 million by the end of the century, we’ve got to start thinking again,” he said.

“This is not a model that continues indefinitely.

“I’d rather see us tapering off before we’re locked into irreversible degradation of what we’ve got on this continent.”

Carr said capping population remained “perfectly compatible” with running a high refugee intake.


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