Focus locally for our jobs

Article by Daniel Wild courtesy of Herald Sun.

Saturday mornings are the new Monday mornings for families and tradies who endure the slog to get around town in heavy traffic.

And it is set to get worse.

The federal government has announced it wants to expand our migration intake by at least 1.8 million over the next five years to address Australia’s severe worker shortage, but it has no plan to house the new arrivals.

Recent analysis from the Institute of Public Affairs found that this intake will lead to a housing shortage of more than 252,000 homes from now to 2028.

Worse still, the necessary infrastructure to cope with this new demand has not yet been built.

Projects which are under construction, such as the West Gate Tunnel and level crossing removals, are over budget and experiencing never-ending delays.

Victoria has always proven itself to be one of the world’s most welcoming and tolerant communities. Migration is, and must always be, an integral part of our social and cultural fabric.

However, the key to our success as an inclusive community has been proper planning, and developing a consensus among those that are already here, especially new migrants themselves.

A recent survey released by the IPA found that 60 per cent of Victorians want to pause migration until vital infrastructure catches up.

However, the ready-made solution to the worker shortage crisis, one that does not add pressure to our struggling infrastructure, is to remove the barriers to those Australians wanting to work.

Today, pensioners and veterans lose half their income when they earn more than $226 per week, while students face the
same financial disincentive when they earn about $300 per week.

This is why only three per cent of pensioners in Australia work, compared with one quarter in New Zealand.

Surveys show about 120,000 Victorians want such work.

Most Victorians agree that Australian pensioners, veterans, and students should receive first preference for suitable local jobs, rather than new arrivals.

Our infrastructure is buckling under the pressure of poor planning and investment decisions. Governments should stop looking overseas for the quick fix. The answer to our problems is much closer to home.

Daniel Wild is deputy executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs

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