More overseas migrants heading to Queensland
By Cosima Marriner
The Sydney Morning Herald, November 26, 2009
Immigrants have displaced southerners as Queensland's biggest source of new arrivals.
One-fifth of all migrants now settle in Queensland.
The Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, said the state's disproportionate share of the growing immigration intake meant the south-east corner of Queensland was in danger of being ''loved to death''.
Ms Bligh called on the Federal Government to develop incentives for people to settle in regional centres.
State Treasury figures released this week showed immigrants accounted for half of Queensland's population growth, compared to Australian residents, who accounted for 20 per cent – a reversal of the situation a decade ago.
A record 50,000 immigrants now settle in Queensland each year, compared to 21,200 people who move from interstate.
Skilled workers account for most migrants. There has also been a record 25 per cent increase in overseas students, to 72,500, enrolled in Queensland institutions for the year to the end of June.
New Zealand remains Queensland's biggest source of overseas immigrants. More than half of all New Zealanders arriving in Australia choose to settle there. Britain is Queensland's second-biggest source, accounting for one-fifth of settlers.
Queensland's economy has been fuelled by population growth. But Ms Bligh said the 60 per cent projected growth in Australia's population by mid-century had ''immense'' implications for the state's resources and infrastructure.
''No matter what population is set by the Government, South-East Queensland seems set to get a disproportionate share of it,'' she said. ''Put simply, South-East Queensland is growing because people want to live here but they are in danger of loving us to death.''
Sixty per cent of new arrivals settle around Brisbane.
Ms Bligh warned last week that South-East Queensland was starting to experience a ''crisis of liveability'' where the costs of population growth outweighed the benefits. She has written to the federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, asking him to pursue incentives for decentralisation as part of the review of the tax system by the Secretary to the Treasury, Ken Henry.
''The Prime Minister's agenda for a big Australia should include incentives to support regional economies and encourage decentralisation,'' Ms Bligh said. ''We need incentives for people to settle outside the south-east corner so that all parts of Queensland can enjoy the benefits that measured, sustainable growth can bring.''
Last week she floated the idea of a $3000 boost to the first home buyer's grant for people who bought property in regional centres.
EDITORS NOTE: The Queensland population figures are available online at: http://www.oesr.qld.gov.au/queensland-by-theme/demography/population/index.shtml