Sorry Populists, Australia Says Mass Immigration Is a Good Thing

(Bloomberg) -- Malcolm Turnbull’s stance in rejecting calls by populists to cut Australia’s large immigration intake -- fueling one of the fastest-growing populations in the developed world -- has been given a timely boost by the prime minister’s own Treasury.

The “Shaping A Nation” report, released on Tuesday to “inform discussion and debate,” says the government’s policy of adding 190,000 non-humanitarian migrants a year with a focus on taking skilled workers has boosted economic growth, reduced the adverse effects of an aging population and lifted aggregate demand through consumption and investment.

Sorry Populists, Australia Says Mass Immigration Is a Good Thing

Still, there’s also some ammunition for opponents of the government’s policy.

Anti-immigration voices have grown louder in recent months and are likely to be drawn to a section that points out that high population growth in Australia “can heighten existing pressures on infrastructure, housing, and the environment. Without continuing action to find innovative solutions, high rates of growth may also intensify issues such as congestion and excessive waste production.”

The report may indeed inspire debate and help make immigration a contentious issue during the next federal election, expected to be held in 2019’s first half and which polls show Turnbull is on track to lose.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.