Forcing migrants out of Sydney and Melbourne to ease congestion

David Coleman

Australia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, but has long had a high proportion of its population - now 25 million people - living in cities.

"Our overall objective is to try and get a better distribution of that growth to take the pressure off Melbourne and Sydney and support the economic growth of those other areas", Mr Tudge told the Today Show. Around two in every five Australians live in Sydney and Melbourne alone.

"I've spoken to the South Australian Premier and he said that he wants to grow the state of South Australia by 20,000 people every year and he'll have the work there to do it, so the work is there", Mr Tudge said.

The government is considering banning immigrants from settling in Sydney and Melbourne for five years after they arrive in the country, The Australian newspaper reported.

But the population of Melbourne grew past year by 2.7%, while the population of the south-east corner of Queensland state around Brisbane and the Gold Coast grew by 2.3%, and Sydney grew by 2.1%.

Overseas migration accounts for 60% of Australia's population growth, with nearly 90% of skilled workers gravitating to Sydney and Melbourne, as well as almost all of the humanitarian intake.

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Asked if Australia should set a population target, Mr Tudge said there was no need to set "an exact number". But the population of Melbourne grew a year ago by 2.7 percent, the population of the southeast corner of Queensland state around Brisbane and the Gold Coast grew by 2.3 percent, and Sydney grew by 2.1 percent. Growth in the Brisbane-Gold Coast region reflected higher levels of population shift within Australia and a higher birthrate.

The visa changes would not apply to family reunion visa holders, or people sponsored by an employer.

About 150,000 permanent migrants deemed to have skills that Australia needs are...

It's understood Population and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge will outline the Morrison Government's soon-to-be-released population policy in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Labor says the Government's suggestion is a thought bubble but they are not ruling out supporting the measure.

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