11 November 2008
Kennett and Flannery criticise Australia's migration quota
Jeff Kennett, former Victorian Premier, and Tim Flannery, an environmental activist, said the lack of population foresight in the Australian government's policy could jeopardise Australia's future, reports the Herald Sun.
"It's a tragedy that there's no population policy," Mr Kennett told the Herald Sun.
"We don't know where we want to be in 2050 and how we accommodate the population we want to have," he added.
The current Premier of Victoria, John Brumby, reassured his government's migration policy was on-track and he was satisfied with the current level of migration to his state.
This year, Australian immigration hit record levels, and the Opposition to the Rudd Government want the 2008-09 quota of 190,000 to reduce by at least one quarter in the next budget.
Professor Flannery said the government must be weary of adding to the population for short-term economic needs, as "once you add to Australia's population it's there forever".
"We've got to balance short-term economic needs with the long-term environmental impacts. We have to look at issues like water, biodiversity protection, the impact of greenhouse gases."
The Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout and ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence both agreed the migration levels should not yet change.
"We are still short of skilled labour," Ms Ridout said. "We need a medium-term approach to immigration. This is critical to maintaining a consistently strong intake."
"While there are jobs and skills shortages in many regions and industries, we should keep it up," added Mr Lawrence.
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Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.