Australia mulls banning some immigrants from biggest cities


Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure, and Population Alan Tudge said Tuesday that his government wants to cut the number of immigrants moving to Sydney and Melbourne in a bid to reduce congestion in Australia's two biggest cities.

He then outlined four ways in which the coalition is planning to tackle the congestion and population issues, which are; boosting spending on infrastructure to build major intra-city roads and rail networks; improve local congestion "pinch points"; ease the population pressure off the three big cities and grow the smaller states and regions.

Almost 70 percent of the 186,000 migrants who settled in Australia past year arrived on skilled migrant visas, and almost all moved to Sydney or Melbourne, according to government data.

"Matching the skills of new migrants with the skill shortages in rural and regional Australia will be key to the success of this approach", Tudge said.

The main driver of population growth in Sydney and Melbourne was overseas migration, with 87 percent of skilled migrants to Australia and nearly all refugees gravitating to those cities.

There are now no limits on where individuals can settle after they receive a skilled migrant visa.

The government may introduce visa conditions to limit where some migrants live for up to five years, he said. Migrants will gravitate to opportunities & amenities in cities. "We haven't announced all of the details of exactly how to do that, but it's reasonably straightforward", Tudge said.

"At this stage the proposal is not detailed, but such visas may have geographical limitations... at least for a few years".

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"It's certainly unsustainable to continue with the current model with the bulk of immigrants going to Sydney and Melbourne because it's creating significant pressure", said Tony Matthews, researcher at the Cities Research Institute.

"I'm not sure its legally viable", the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

"Any policy that spreads migration will resonate".

There are also questions about the business impact in big cities, where job creation is outstripped migration, said James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Business and Industry.

Sydney and its surrounds need to slash immigration by half to counter worsening congestion in Australia's most populous state, politicians said Wednesday.

While Melbourne and Sydney have experienced strong population growth, the population of Adelaide, the capital of South Australia (SA), grew by 0.7 percent in financial year 2017 while that of Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory (NT), grew by 0.5 percent.

"We've had 27 years without a recession". But the population of Melbourne grew past year by 2.7 percent, the population of the southeast corner of Queensland state around Brisbane and the Gold Coast grew by 2.3 percent, and Sydney grew by 2.1 percent.