Premier Gladys Berejiklian has appointed an expert panel to develop a population policy for NSW.
“It is increasingly frustrating that as the largest and most successful State in Australia, NSW doesn’t have a seat at the table at a national level when it comes to policies impacting population,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“As a daughter of proud migrants, I have and always will advocate for a NSW that is open and welcoming to new migrants.
“But it is becoming increasingly clear that the current high rates of population growth are putting even more pressure on our infrastructure. NSW’s economic success is attracting a far greater share of total immigrant numbers than it has in the past.
“Since the Liberals & Nationals came to office, NSW has been catching up on the backlog. It is now time for us to take stock and get ahead.”
The Premier renewed her call for net overseas migration levels to return to more sustainable Howard-era rates when NSW net overseas migration was steady at around 45,000 a year, until a proper population policy is put in place. Since then, the average net overseas migration to NSW has increased to around 73,000 and over the last two years it has ballooned to almost 100,000.
“We are in the midst of an unprecedented infrastructure boom in NSW with more than $87 billion being invested in new roads, transport, schools and hospitals over the next four years alone,” Ms Berejiklian said. “But it is clear that despite that record infrastructure pipeline, Sydney and NSW are still playing catch up. This review will allow NSW to take a strategic approach to planning around population.”
The members of the expert panel, which will provide advice to the Premier within two months, are:
Jim Betts, CEO, Infrastructure NSW;
Peter Shergold, Chancellor, University of Western Sydney, former Secretary, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, NSW Refugee Resettlement Co-Ordinator; and
Carolyn McNally, Secretary, Department of Planning and Environment.
The Panel will consider:
The current rate of population growth and infrastructure pipeline;
How long is needed for infrastructure to catch up with population growth rates;
NSW’s role at upcoming discussions with the Commonwealth regarding population; and will
Recommend next steps for more detailed work on the issue of population.
Ms Berejiklian wrote to former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year seeking his support for a special COAG dedicated to the issue of population growth and planning.
The Premier then wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this month to welcome the Federal Government’s announcement that it would work with the States regarding the issue of population and renewed her request for a COAG meeting in 2019 on the issue.