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82 per cent of Australians see the benefits of immigration

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Australians see the benefits of immigration but are less fussed on our current intake as population and infrastructure concerns grow more prominent.

“Australians remain overwhelmingly supportive of the multicultural character of their nation and of the value of immigration,” the Scanlon Foundation’s Mapping Social Cohesion 2018 survey found, noting the 82 per cent of Australians who consider immigrants, and their diverse cultures and views, a benefit to Australian society.

Additionally, 80 per cent of us consider immigrants a positive for the Australian economy.

The Scanlon Foundation, which has a goal of advancing Australia to become more prosperous, welcoming and cohesive, said these findings were especially notable given the increasingly protectionist tenor of modern politics and media.

Researcher Professor Andrew Markus said the Global Financial Crisis, the declining manufacturing industry, continued population growth, political instability and a heightened cost of living have all tested the Australian approach to immigration.

Nevertheless, “Over the course of a period of dramatic change, the Scanlon Foundation research has found that a large majority of Australians have demonstrated a remarkable resilience and optimism about the future.”

Australia is an immigrant nation

Only 14 per cent of respondents disagreed with the notion that immigration is good for the country’s economy.

That’s against a backdrop of continued positivity; between 83 per cent and 86 per cent of Australians have considered multiculturalism a benefit to Australia since 2013.

However, most respondents also considered multiculturalism a two-way street; immigrants should adapt to Australia while Australians should also adapt to immigrants.

Should we decrease or increase immigration?

Around half (52 per cent) of respondents said they consider our current intake to be ‘about right’ or ‘too low’, but 43 per cent said they consider the current intake ‘too high’.

The Scanlon survey has also recorded an increasingly level of concern over the level of immigration, up 9 per cent between 2016 and 2018 to 43 per cent.

Australia’s attitude to immigration has changed over time. Source: Scanlon Foundation
Australia’s attitude to immigration has changed over time. Source: Scanlon Foundation
Scott Morrison flags plans to cut immigration

Just last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he was considering limiting immigration in a bid to curb population increase.

“The roads are clogged, the buses and trains are full. The schools are taking no more enrolments. I hear what you are saying. I hear you loud and clear,” he said at the Bradfield Oration in Sydney.

“We need a more targeted and tailored approach to conversations about population.

“We have become, especially in Sydney and Melbourne, a victim of our success.”

He said immigration could be cut by up to 30,000.

Our current immigration levels are hovering around 160,000, however fringe parties like One Nation would like to see immigration levels slashed to 70,000.

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