RBA governor defends Australia’s immigration intake

As Australia’s population passed the twenty five million mark this week, Philip Lowe, the RBA governor has taken the opportunity to promote the immigration’s economic benefits.

Speaking at a business lunch in Sydney, he said Australia’s population growth rate of 1.5% per year was a “basis for optimism about the future of our economy” as is as producing a younger, more economically resilient country.

“The movement to Australia of large numbers of young people over the past decade has changed our demographic profile in a positive way,” Dr Lowe said, pointing out that Australia’s median age of 37 years made it “one of the youngest countries among the advanced economies”.

“Migration has helped our economy adjust to large swings in the demand for labour, and helped address some particular skills shortages.”

The government has come under attack from Mr Abbott and former NSW premier Bob Carr, among others, for permitting population growth that puts pressure on housing and infrastructure. Dr Lowe noted such concerns but said investment was catching up. “The growth in the number of dwellings exceeded growth in the population over the past four years,” he said.

He said growth in the number of young immigrants had slashed the forecast median age for 2040 from 40, since 2002. “Over the past five years, over 80 per cent of net overseas migration has been accounted for by people under the age of 35,” he said.

More than half the annual population increase has been due to immigration, especially of students. And about a sixth of foreign students in Australia, currently about 500,000, stay in Australia after completing their studies.

“People living in Australia who were born overseas are more likely than the average Australian to have a post-secondary school qualification,” Dr Lowe said.

“We also benefit from stronger overseas connections when foreign students return home after studying in Australia.”

Category: Migration News
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