How drop in migration would hit Aussies hard: analyst warns

A COLLAPSE in overseas migration into Australia could act as a major drag on the property market and the economy for years, latest analysis warns.

Overseas migration has dropped 9 per cent nationally, according to latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics - with annualised population growth slowing for the fourth consecutive quarter to 1.6 per cent.

In the year to March, Queensland had the third highest population growth (1.7 per cent) though Victoria was strongest (2.2 per cent) followed by the ACT (2.1 per cent).

New South Wales was fourth fastest (1.6 per cent) with Tasmania fifth (1.0 per cent), Western Australia sixth (0.8 per cent) and South Australia seventh (0.7 per cent).

Only the Northern Territory saw declines over the last two quarters, though it was still just over positive territory at 0.1 per cent growth annually.


QLD had the third highest population growth after Victoria and ACT, with NSW fourth.
QLD had the third highest population growth after Victoria and ACT, with NSW fourth.


Housing Industry Association principal economist Geordan Murray warned of wider implications of any population slowdown.

"The current phase of Australia's 28 years of continuous economic growth is built upon the arrival of skilled migrants," he said.

"Skilled migration is necessary to offset the impact of our ageing population. Looking domestically, states such as New South Wales and Victoria that have benefited the most from overseas migration over recent years are now seeing population growth rates slowing."

"The slowing rate of population growth, while it remains high for a developed economy, will contribute to slower growth of household consumption.

"This means slower growth in sectors such as retail and residential building. Given that these two sectors are amongst the nation's largest employers the risks presented a decline in population growth should not be underestimated."

The slowdown has come off major changes to Australian visas announced in April last year.

"Changes to visas for skilled workers have delivered an immediate hit to Australia's population growth," he said.

"Australia's overseas migration fell by 9 per cent since changes to visa requirements came into force in April 2017, slowing the population growth rate to 1.6 per cent."