MacroPlan argues that Australia’s population is likely to greatly exceed the IGR4 forecast of 39.7 million persons by 2055. The baseline assumption in the IGR4 is that net overseas migration will average 215,000 people per annum. MacroPlan Chairman Brian Haratsis is projecting that the annual increase is likely to be closer to 300,000 persons per annum, even if the national permanent migrant intake is not substantially raised. ‘Australia’s economy has become more dependent on long-term temporary residents, including overseas university students, skilled workers and family visitors,’ argues Mr Haratsis. Recent history has shown that sectors leading economic growth are dependent on our temporary residents. ‘Our healthcare, professional services and tertiary education sectors provide leading edges to jobs growth’, says Mr Haratsis.
The 16 million new Australian’s will drive demand for around 12 million homes, 32 million sqm of retail floorspace and 160 million sqm of office floorspace. By 2055 both Melbourne and Sydney are likely to be the same size as Chicago is today at 9 million people.
Successful businesses can afford to be selective in hiring overseas workers, but the Government cannot afford to be complacent. IGR4 does not position Australia in a global context in terms of aiming for progressive expansion of overseas migration. Evidence already shows that the so called Grey Army (that is going to deliver prosperity in Australia’s future according to Treasurer Mr Joe Hockey), will actually be a Global Army.
MacroPlan argues that it is now time for a refresh of macroeconomic policy, with a focus on industry perspectives (rather than industry policy). It is clear that both monetary and fiscal policy, as sources for momentum, are close to exhausted. Moving forward, Governments will need to offer more detailed and considered analysis of how the economy is evolving.
One area for focus is the tourism sector, which is complex as a source of demand for transport infrastructure, retail services and property investment. Our services for overseas tourists are thriving, but this sector remains undervalued and misunderstood. Framing actions for the next 40 years will require thoughtful assessment of the global services boom, as it collides with the digital revolution and growth in Asian middle class wealth.