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Coalition wants to cut migration intake for ‘better, not bigger’ Australia

Eleanor Campbell NCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Australia’s net migration levels are “too high” and need to be drastically reduced to keep housing affordability and rising rent prices at bay, a senior Liberal figure has claimed, while also dodging questions as to what the Coalition wants to see happen in the future.

Opposition immigration minister Dan Tehan said the country could not sustain the 1.6 million migrants forecast to enter the country over the next four years given the current housing and rental crisis.

“When people can’t get in to see a doctor, when we’re seeing cuts in our infrastructure… That is too high,” Mr Tehan told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

“What we need is a proper plan when it comes to immigration and set out what that should look like… it’s a complete mess.”

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Camera IconAnthony Albanese has been warned Australia’s net migration levels need to be drastically reduced. NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman Credit: News Corp Australia
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Camera IconAustralia’s population is soaring, and infrastructure isn’t keeping up. NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker Credit: News Corp Australia

Australia’s net migration intake surpassed to a record high of 510,000 in the year to July 2023, double that of pre-pandemic levels.

Labor has pledged to halve the annual immigration rate over the next two years under sweeping new migration reforms announced in December.

When asked point-blank what exact levels the Coalition wanted to see migration be reduced to, Mr Tehan refused to answer instead claiming the Liberals wanted a “better” not “bigger” Australia.

“We will announce what our better Australia will look like in the lead-up to the election,” he said.

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Camera IconThe government hopes normal migration rates will return to 250,000 people per year. NewsWire / Monique Harmer Credit: News Corp Australia

The Albanese government unveiled plans last year to fix Australia’s “broken” migration system, in what was described as the “final piece” in a three-phase approach to building a “sustainable Australia.”

After a lull during the Covid-19 pandemic, record levels of migration by international students, who accounted for more than half of arrivals, led the government to announce a crackdown on student visa rules, which included tougher minimum language-requirements and more scrutiny around applications for second visas.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the new changes will focus on bringing down migration to sustainable levels while also reducing the risk of migrant exploitation.

Mr Tehan said the intake of foreign students into Australia “absolutely” needed to be reduced, calling Labor’s response a “knee-jerk reaction”

“There will be an immigration policy that will be announced before the next election and it will be very different to Labor’s immigration policy.”

Originally published as Coalition wants to cut migration intake for ‘better, not bigger’ Australia

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