Quick Bites | Migrants on the March

Australia is poised to experience the biggest two-year population surge in its history, with an extra 650,000 migrants due to arrive this financial year.

Population growth has surged since Australia re-opened its borders after COVID-19, with Treasurer Jim Chalmers stating that net overseas migration in the current financial year is expected to be “in the mid-300,000s or more”, well above the 235,000 forecast in October. In the first 3 months of this financial year, there was a net inflow of 106,000 migrants, the largest quarterly addition in the history of the data series which has been compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) since 1979.

Source: The Australian


With the Albanese government’s second budget just weeks away, Treasury officials are adjusting the fiscal statement’s economic forecasts to reflect the surprise population boom. The influx of tourists, foreign workers, and students is boosting spending, tax collections, and demand for services, particularly housing, where the government is concerned about tight rental markets.

The October budget forecast net overseas migration of 235,000 both in 2022-23 and 2023-24, which is based on an assumption that migration will “continue in line with pre-pandemic trends”.

However, the latest population statement released by the government states that this figure was “derived using a 14-year average from 2004–05 to 2017–18”. The estimate is composed of 190,000 permanent migrants and 13,750 humanitarian migrants entering Australia a year, plus 66,000 “temporary migrants who reside in Australia for several years but never transition to permanent residence”, less 20,000 permanent residents and 15,000 Australian citizens who emigrate.

Clearly, those assumptions are way off the mark and will require updating.

Source: ABS


The previous two-year high was 577,000 in the 2008 and 2009 financial years when then prime minister Kevin Rudd embraced rapid population growth.

The annual natural increase in population – that is, births minus deaths – is currently 123,000. On these trends, Australia’s population will be almost 27 million by June next year, with Treasury projections showing our population reaching 30 million in mid-2033.


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