Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 10 May 2018
Page: 2913

Budget


Senator HANSON (Queensland) (14:38): My question is to the Minister for Finance, Senator Cormann. The government's budget papers give no precise economic value of the contribution immigration makes to the growth of the economy and, consequently, the projected revenues in the budget. Not even the Parliamentary Library can find the rules or assumptions used in the budget process to quantify the contribution of immigration to the revenues forecast in this government's budget. My question to the minister is: how much in GDP does immigration contribute to the growth in the Australian economy on which this budget relies?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:39): I thank Senator Hanson for the question. The first point I would make is that generations and generations of migrants to Australia, coming from all corners of the world—whether it's Greece, like the family of our valued colleague Senator Georgiou, or Belgium, like me, or Kenya, like Senator Gichuhi, or anywhere else—have made fantastic contributions to our country. The country we are today in large part is due to the contribution made by them, and we are a better country because of it.

The next point I would make is that Australia, like many other Western countries, has an ageing population. Having an ageing population is a drag on economic growth. Being able to attract, in particular, young, talented migrants to Australia from all around the word, with an attitude of wanting to help our country be even better, is good for our economy.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Hanson, on a point of order?

Senator Hanson: I agree with the minister's answer so far, but my question is: how much in GDP does immigration contribute?

The PRESIDENT: The minister has been speaking for just over a minute. I'm listening carefully and I note he has 52 seconds to complete his answer. You've taken the chance to remind him of the question, Senator Hanson.

Senator CORMANN: I was making a general point that I thought was important. In terms of the specific question, I will ask the Treasurer whether he has anything else to add to it. But let me make the point again: Australia is what it is today in large part because of the economic and social contribution of generations of migrants to Australia. We are a better country because people from around the world have made the decision to make Australia their home, and I think we should value and recognise that. I will check with the Treasurer whether he's got anything further to add.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Hanson, a supplementary question.







Senator HANSON (Queensland) (14:41): The GDP used in the budget is three per cent. The labour productivity growth is projected at 1.6 per cent in Budget Paper No. 1, on pages 8 to 23. Does immigration account for the balance of 1.4 per cent of the GDP?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:42): The best way I can answer this—and this is based on some advice that's just been given to me—is to refer Senator Hanson to the Productivity Commission, which did an inquiry into this topic and found that sustaining migration at its long-term average rate and with the current profile of the migrant intake will increase domestic product per person based on seven per cent relative to a zero net overseas migration case by 2060. I think intuitively we all understand that talented young people from around the world making a decision to make Australia their home is good for our economy and our country, but the Productivity Commission has put some numbers on it. Very simply, having an ageing population puts pressure on us to find other ways to boost our population with a younger population. It does present a drag on growth, which means lower revenue for government to fund the increased costs of providing health and social welfare services to an ageing population. Being able to attract more people from around the world is a good thing. (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Hanson, a final supplementary question.



Senator HANSON (Queensland) (14:43): Minister, your response there is basically a Ponzi scheme, so where does it actually cut off? If you cut immigration numbers into this country in accordance with the sentiment of the majority of Australians, do your budget figures stack up?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:43): We, the government, stand by our economic growth forecast and all of the forecasts and projections in the budget.