Immigration levels already too high: SPA (APR)

27 April 2001

Media Releases 2001

Immigration levels are already way too high, according to Dr Harry Cohen, National President of Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

Dr Cohen was responding too the Federal Government announcement yesterday that immigration levels would be lifted by 6000 to 85,000.

“These numbers do not even tell the real story,” said Dr Cohen. “Last year, net overseas migration was over 99,000. When you take into account that 40,000 or so left the country permanently, the number of new settlers entering the country was of the order of 140,000.

Dr Cohen criticised the Minister for Immigration, Philip Ruddock, for justifying the increase by saying it would stop population from declining.

“The Australian Bureau of Statistics projects that on current trends, even before this increase, that we are heading for a population of 28 million, and still growing. Fertility rates would have to fall much further from the current 1.7 before we have any hope of stabilisation,” he said.

Dr Cohen stressed that Australia’s environment cannot cope with these projected increases in population. Water was already proving to be a resource limiting further growth.

“The National Land and Water Resources Audit released earlier this month found that over a quarter of surface water and a third of groundwater management areas were approaching or beyond sustainable extraction limits,” he said.

“Dryland salinity is wiping out vast areas of productive country. This is simply not a continent that can support a large population.”

Dr Cohen also criticised the buiness community for putting pressure on the government to increase immigration.

“It is a clear case of vested interest,” he said. “More workers are simply going to drive down wages. Unemployment and underemployment are still major problems in all but a few small pockets in Sydney,” he concluded.

Further information:

Dr Harry Cohen, Ph(h): 08 9386 5268 Ph(mobile): 0407 426 987

Jenny Goldie (SPA National Director) Ph: 02 6235 5488 E:


Media Releases 2001
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