Thousands of new immigrants will be forced to live outside Sydney and Melbourne for their first five years in Australia as part of a major shake-up of the federal government’s population policy.
Immigrants will be granted restricted visas to counter growth in those cities, which has outstripped forecasts by 100 per cent in the past decade, Population and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge will tell the Menzies Research Centre on Tuesday.
‘The main factor driving our growth has been net overseas migration, accounting for 60 per cent of population growth over the last decade, while the remaining growth has been due to natural increases,’ Mr Tudge will say, according to The Australian.
‘This is a serious challenge for families and a serious economic challenge for the nation. There was insufficient infrastructure built in the early 2000s, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, to cater for forecast growth, let alone the actual growth.
‘While the overall population of Australia has been growing at the rapid rate of 1.6 per cent per annum, our three large population centres have been some of the fastest-growing cities in the world.’
Mr Tudge will tell the Menzies Research Centre Melbourne’s population grew by 2.7 per cent in 2017, south-east Queensland by 2.3 per cent and Sydney by 2.1 per cent.
The government hopes to claw back some of the $25billion a year in lost economic activity due to city congestion, Mr Tudge will say.
Multi-billion dollar fast rail projects to ease urban congestion are also being considered.
The lines being considered include from Newcastle to Sydney, Shepparton to Melbourne – as well as from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane.
Canberra will work with the states to implement new infrastructure planning and population controls under its proposed population policy.
Meanwhile, Bill Shorten has unveiled Labor’s election manifesto in a five-point policy agenda, drawing the battlelines for the next federal poll.
In a major speech which smacked of an election campaign launch, Mr Shorten told party faithful at the Revesby Workers’ Club in western Sydney about Labor’s ‘fair go action plan’.
The plan includes improving schools and hospitals, standing up for workers, easing pressure on family budgets, ensuring a strong economy and investing in cleaner and cheaper energy.
‘We want to hand on a better deal to the next generation than the one we received. It’s in the Australian DNA, and it’s in Labor DNA,’ Mr Shorten said.
Mr Shorten’s speech came after he last week revealed a $1.75 billion preschool policy which would extend subsidised early childhood education to three-year-olds.
‘It’s as profound as raising the school leaving age,’ he said.
Mr Shorten claimed dysfunction within the Liberal Party, who dumped Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister in August and replaced him with Scott Morrison, had increased pressure on Labor.
‘The narcissistic self-obsession we’ve seen from the Liberals and the Nationals actually creates a bigger challenge for us on the Labor side,’ he said.
He said Labor now faced the task of restoring Australians’ faith in democracy and politics.
‘Let’s make the next election a contest about a fair go for every Australian and their family, regardless of their gender, their postcode or their wealth,’ Mr Shorten said.
However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Mr Shorten would pay for spending promises through hiking taxes.
‘I will tell you what Bill Shorten’s five-point plan is – more tax, more tax, more tax, more tax, more tax,’ Mr Morrisons said.
‘More tax doesn’t grow the economy. All it means is more tax dragging the economy down taking more of what Australians earn.’
Mr Morrison said the election would be next year, with the poll due by May 2019.