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Tuesday, 9 May 2023
Page: 1766

Senator ANTIC (South Australia) (16:18): I also rise to take note of the answer to the question from Senator Smith regarding immigration and the rental crisis. Despite what we've heard this afternoon, Australians are welcoming people. Despite what we hear from Labor and the Greens and their mates in the socialist media industrial complex, they're not racist people. We're nothing of the sort; we're welcoming people.

Immigration has served this country well. I'm proof of that, of course, being the son of an immigrant family. We all know that. But, let's be clear, Australians are not stupid. They're not going to be sold a pup on this one. They understand that there's a time and a place for policy levers to include modest—we love the word 'modest' in this place—increases in immigration. But for the Labor government to be suggesting, at this stage, that something in the order 715,000 new immigrants over the next two years is even remotely reasonable is a nonsense, and there are myriad reasons as to why that is. They include, but are not limited to, the extraordinary pressure it's going to place on our infrastructure and on our housing system, which just can't sustain this sort of target. We heard that there are going to be I think 30,000 new homes built. My maths is pretty poor, but 30,000 into 715,000 doesn't seem to add up. Where are these people going to go? Are we just going to build tents and have those in the middle of cities? This just does not stack up.

I know the government likes to sell these decisions in a very simplistic sort of way: 'Don't worry about it. We've got it all under control. It's modest. Don't ask questions. We've got this under control.' But the truth here is that this migration pitch is going to cause problems that I don't think this government are even aware of and are ignoring at their own peril. As I said, the Australian people are not silly, and they don't want this. They particularly don't want it in places like Sydney and Melbourne, where the infrastructure is already heaving under the weight of large population numbers. They don't want this intake, at least until improvements are made in investment in infrastructure, in schooling, and in the road system, education, hospitals and houses.

Australians actually want cutting of red tape, lowering of taxes, the bringing back of business, and cutting of power prices, which is one we heard all the way through the last election—$275, was it, that power bills were going to drop by? And what have we seen since then? They've gone straight up. I guess we'd be looking at a different proposition if we were looking at the old Labor Party. Remember the old Labor Party that used to stand for the battlers, used to stand for working people, used to take those sorts of things into account? Now not only have we got a Labor Party that's bursting energy prices all over the country and shattering that $275 promise, which was mentioned 96 times, but we're also seeing a government that's giving us huge inflationary pressures—which this is only going to contribute to, by the way—and higher rents, all at the same time that we're seeing an enormous increase in migration.

This shows that the government, the Australian Labor Party, is no longer the party of the battlers and the workers; it's the party of the inner-city elites. We can see that every single day, every time we look at these pictures. And it's all getting very comfortable. They are now turbocharging those cost-of-living pressures that we just talked about. That's what this will do; make no mistake. This isn't going to be some magic wand they can wave. Look at South Australia, at the SQM research, which details the changes in rental costs. The South Australian housing market is relatively stable. We've seen some increases recently, but as at 4 May the increase in house rental prices alone is 11.4 per cent. The increase in rental prices for units is 11.4 per cent. And that's almost the good news, because let's turn to New South Wales and Victoria, where we can see something in the order of a 20 per cent— (Time expired)