By Oonagh Reidy
Entrepreneur Dick Smith has taken a pop at immigrants, blaming Australia’s “unbelievable” population increase for “enormous” house prices, Sydney’s traffic jams and couples not being able to get on the property ladder.
“You can’t drive in Sydney at the moment … the housing prices are enormous, young couples can’t afford a house with a backyard anymore,“ Smith said on Sky News on Tuesday evening.
“You think each generation will be better off – yeah, you can buy more LCD TV sets and fly to Bali cheaper,” declared the multi- millionaire, who made his name as owner of the Dick Smith electronics chain, which he later sold to Woolworths.
The electronics chain shut its doors in 2016 under the ownership of Anchorage Capital.
”The most fundamental right is to get a house with a backyard” he declared, lamenting that “young couples can’t do that anymore.”
The millionaire businessman blamed this “in 95 per cent of the cases” by the enormous population increase, mainly driven by “ridiculous immigration.”
House prices have risen dramatically in recent years especially in Sydney and Melbourne, although population growth appears to be slowing. In 2015, Australia’s population rose by 326,100 - well down from the peak level of almost 460,000 in 2008 and 422,000 in 2009.
Smith, a former Australian of the Year, has been a vociferous opponent of immigration in Australia, and in 2010 made a documentary on population growth called ' Dick Smith's Population Puzzle.'
He has also thrown his weight behind Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party, which has campaigned on an anti-immigration and anti-Muslim platform.
“I agree with her views on immigration numbers, that is about 70,000 a year, not 200,000. But I do not agree with her views on Muslim immigration,” he said last year.