Property developers main drivers of immigration (FEB)

14 February 2009

Media Releases 2009

Feb 22, 2002

Property developers and the housing industry have most to gain from immigration-driven population growth, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).

While polls taken over the last three decades have shown that the majority of people feel immigration levels to be “too much” or “about right”, businesses and individuals associated with property development have lobbied the Government very hard to increase immigration.

Spokesperson for SPA, Sheila Newman, said today that the most active of high immigration lobbyists are the Housing Industry Association, the Urban Development Institute of Australia, and the Australian Population Institute (Apop).

“Apop, in fact, exists solely to push for a bigger population for Australia,” says Newman. “Most of its officers have huge involvement in property development, not least the President, Bert Dennis, who is one of Victoria’s largest private land developers.

“Many developers stand to make millions out of the rezoning and development of their land holdings from population growth, whether it comes from immigration or natural increase,” she says. “As populations grow, increased competition for housing will force prices up as well.”

Businesses that supply or fund property development such as banks, building societies and manufacturers of building materials are also drivers of high population growth.

“Other core supporters of Apop are Tony Berg of the Business Council of Australia; Ivan Deveson, Director of companies active in construction; Richard Pratt, billionaire businessman; John Ralph of BHP, the Commonwealth Bank and Pacific Dunlop; Ron Silberberg of the Housing Association; and Jack Smorgon who has major property and manufacturing interests, and Malcolm Fraser,” says Newman.

Many of these people have actively promoted the Population Summit in Melbourne on Monday (25 February) and some will be speaking there.

“High immigration and population growth may be in the best interests of these business people but it is not in the best interest of the country as a whole,” says Newman.

“The property development and infrastructure expansion that accompanies population growth is driving destruction of natural habitat and species loss in Australia. Human homelessness is also on the increase, due to some the highest housing prices in the world. Globalisation of the property market has driven prices up further. Many people will never own a home and will pay high rents all their lives. Others will become increasingly enslaved to mortgage repayments. We need to end population growth as soon as possible, in Australia and overseas.”

Further information:

Sheila Newman Ph: 03 9783 5047

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


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