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SA pleads case as Morrison flags lower immigration cap


UPDATED | The Marshall Government maintains migration is crucial to addressing South Australia’s “low rate of population growth”, as Scott Morrison flags slashing immigration numbers to prevent overcrowding in Australia’s biggest cities.

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The prime minister says community sentiment is in favour of cutting numbers in Sydney and Melbourne.

“The roads are clogged, the buses and trains are full. The schools are taking no more enrolments. I hear what you are saying. I hear you loud and clear,” he said at the Bradfield Lecture in Sydney last night.

“We have become, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, a victim of our success.

“The Sydney story on population is not just a migration story. It’s also a quality of life story.”

Any changes could see Australia’s immigration cap, which stands at 190,000, cut by up to 30,000.

Morrison has asked state and territory leaders to bring their population strategies to the next Council of Australian Governments meeting next month.

Population Minister Alan Tudge said the government would ask states and territories how many people can fit in their cities.

He anticipates South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory will ask for more migrants.

“It’s not a one-size fits all,” Tudge told the ABC today.

“We want to support the aspirations and the capacity of each of those states to grow so we can support the growth in some of the smaller states.

“But we might ease the pressure on the growth in Melbourne and Sydney, who are really struggling with the very rapid growth, most of which is driven by migration.”

SA’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister David Ridgway said the state is “committed to addressing our low rate of population growth and migration is crucial to that”.

“Our challenges as a state are very different to those of the east coast capitals, and we are making that case to the Federal Government,” he told InDaily in a statement.

Federal Liberal frontbencher Christopher Pyne said population policy should not be decided by polls.

“We don’t need to put a handbrake on population growth,” South Australian Pyne told Sky News yesterday.

“We need to manage our population growth sensibly in a country which quite frankly can take a lot more than 25 million people.”


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