Australians have made it clear they believe there is one major policy change the federal government could make to fix the country’s housing crisis.
A new poll has shown that almost two-thirds of Aussies want Anthony Albanese’s government to cut migration after numbers surged since the pandemic ended.
The Resolve Political Monitor for Nine newspapers found that 62 per cent of voters said the migration intake – which is set to top 500,000 this year – is too high.
In a sign that the government has taken notice of the public’s concerns, it will announce on Sunday that foreigners who buy houses in Australia and leave them empty will be hit with a massive tax hike.
This is designed to get rid of so-called ‘ghost mansions’ in some of Australia’s wealthiest suburbs – houses left empty as the owners watch their value rise.
A new poll has shown that almost two-thirds of Aussies want Anthony Albanese’s government to cut migration after numbers surge since the pandemic ended. Mr (centre) is pictured with Rio Tinto Chief Executive Iron Ore Simon Trott (left) and Federal Minister for Resources Madeleine King (right)
The Resolve Political Monitor for Nine newspapers found that 62 per cent of voters said the migration intake – which is set to top 500,000 this year – is too high (stock image)
Treasurer Jim Chalmers is also set to announce plans to help ease the rental crisis, such as cuts to fees paid by overseas investors who want to build homes to rent.
On Saturday, Mr Albanese said the government would bring immigration back to what he believes is a sustainable level after a huge post-Covid increase.
The overhaul follows a review which found Australia’s immigration system was ‘badly broken’ and in need of a 10-year rebuild, he said.
‘What we know is that we need to have a migration system that enables Australia to get the skills that we need but make sure the system is working in the interests of all Australians,’ he said.
The Prime Minister said there was always going to be a jump in immigration after Covid-19, but that current projections were lower than before Australia shut its borders during the pandemic.
Treasury forecasts also showed the intake is expected to decline substantially over the coming financial year.
The review, conducted by former Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet head Martin Parkinson, found abuses of Australia’s acceptance of international students.
‘People are coming here, enrolling in courses that don’t really add substantially to either their skills base or to the national interest here,’ Mr Albanese said.
‘So it’s not in the interests of our neighbours, nor is it in the interests of Australia, that there not be a crackdown on this. We’re determined to do that.’
He said the review ‘found that it was a deliberate decision to neglect the system and that it was so badly broken, according to Parkinson, it required a 10-year rebuild. Well, we are determined to fix this.’
Among the changes to be announced in the coming days will be stronger English language proficiency requirements for students.
The Resolve survey showed a strong preference for bringing allowing skilled workers rather than students into Australia, and low support for giving priority to refugees and asylum seekers.
The government will announce on Sunday that foreigners who buy houses in Australia and leave them empty will be hit with a massive tax hike. A house auction in Sydney is pictured
Business organisations want the government to have a large skilled migration intake to help fill hundreds of thousands of vacancies in construction, health, housing, engineering and technology.
The building industry alone said it needs 480,000 new workers over the next three years – from Australian apprentices to skilled foreign workers – to fill new jobs and replace retiring tradies.
The government’s announcement came as an Eritrean-born man became the sixth former immigration detainee arrested for allegedly failing to comply with a curfew.
The AFP arrested and charged the 36-year-old on Friday night after he was located in inner Melbourne.
The man allegedly breached the conditions of his visa by failing to observe his residential curfew obligations, with the offence attracting a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $93,900 fine.
The government has been scrambling to respond to a high court decision, which overturned 20 years of legal precedent to rule indefinite custody of detainees unlawful when there was no prospect of resettlement.
The Opposition has demanded that the government apologise to Australians over the affair.
Among the changes to be announced in the coming days will be stronger English language proficiency requirements for students. An entrance to the University of NSW is pictured
But Mr Albanese said Labor had a legal obligation to respond to the court’s decision and had no interest in risking the consequences of pre-empting such processes.
He said the government got very clear and explicit advice on the issue but despite making it available to the Opposition, it had been ignored.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia grew 2.2 per cent to 26.5 million people in the 12 months to March 31, roughly marking the period after the international borders were reopened.
Net overseas migration accounted for 81 per cent of this growth and added 454,400 people.