Wednesday 24 October 2018
Melbourne is jam packed with a population of 5 million and growing by 2,700 people a week.
Melbourne’s population squeeze is putting enormous stress on our roads, public transport, schools and hospitals and it’s impacting everyone’s quality of life.
Daniel Andrews’ unplanned, unmanaged population growth is killing our liveability.
Daniel Andrews says we have to accept that Melbourne’s population will hit 8 million people in the next three decades. He thinks we can fit another 3 million people into Melbourne’s suburbs. I don’t accept that.
We are already at bursting point because Daniel Andrews has lost control of population growth.
As Premier I will get back in control of population growth.
There are two things we need to urgently do to get back in control and ease the population squeeze.
First, we need to decentralise our jobs and our population across all of Victoria.
Second, we need to take control of our own immigration levels and where that immigration goes.
At the moment, Victoria only has a say of 5 points towards the visa assessment of migrants for General Skilled Migration applications. At the moment applicants need 65 points to be eligible.
In other words, Victoria has no real say but is expected to foot the bill and wear the costs. We believe Victoria needs a greater say in how many people come to Victoria and where they settle.
That’s why I propose an overhaul of the system for assessing General Skilled Migration and Refugee & Humanitarian applications.
This overhaul will mean that for General Skilled Migration applications there will be a weighting of 50-50 between Federal and State governments so we can get back in control of how we manage population growth.
Giving states a 50% input will give us more control in managing skills shortages right across Victoria.
In other words, Victoria will be able to prioritise skilled migration in critical areas where there are shortages across the state such as engineering, nursing and agricultural related industries.
Under our plan for Victoria to get back in control of migration to our state, the Federal Government’s 50% input will broadly focus on proof of identity, health and character of applicants.
The Victorian Government’s 50% input in approving applications will focus on the skills, jobs and locations where people will live in Victoria. The Population Commission, which will be established by a Liberal Nationals Government, will provide advice on the areas where skills are needed.
Underpinning these changes to General Skilled Migration applications is the principle that Victorians should be able to decide the skills that are needed in the state, and the regional areas where new migrants should live.
Victoria’s sponsorship of applications could be conditional on the visa holder living and working in a regional area for at least four years. As part of that process, they will be asked to submit evidence that they continue to meet this requirement every 12 months. If they do not meet this requirement the Victorian Government would ask the Department of Immigration to cancel a permanent visa.
We also need to look at how we can change the Refugee & Humanitarian application process to make it work better for everyone. That means looking at how the Population Commission can work with the Department of Immigration on better resettlement programs to direct successful applicants to those regions where there are jobs and services to sustain and grow local economies. The current system lacks strategic direction on managing population growth.
If elected Premier next month, I will ask for COAG to meet in December to put these critical reforms forward and ensure the states have a greater say.
We need the right growth in the right places at the right time. At the moment we have the wrong growth, in the wrong places at the wrong time.
Unless we start to take action now, on current population projections Melbourne will overtake Sydney by 2035.
Daniel Andrews and Labor should be the last ones to complain about changing the immigration system so we can catch up on infrastructure and services. They’ve been in government in Victoria for 15 of the last 19 years and they failed to plan and build for the future.
The problems we have today are because they did nothing for so long.
Daniel Andrews has admitted Labor lost control of population growth between 1999 and 2010, and his own government has lost control again.