70. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the Leader of the House
representing the Premier:
I refer to the December 2018 Council
of Australian Governments meeting attended by the Premier and to the subsequent
Treasurers' meeting this month, which focused on population growth and
(1) Can the state
government publicly confirm that it expects another 190 000 migrants to come to
Western Australia over the next four years, as outlined in the 2018–19
budget, and that it committed to this large intake at the COAG meetings?
(2) How does the
state government intend to finance and build a Hobart-worth of new
infrastructure in less than four years to accommodate all the new arrivals?
(3) Given the
weak labour market in WA, why did the state government not use the COAG
meetings to call for lower levels of immigration in order to improve local job
prospects and wages?
(4) Does the
state government concede that the cost of such rapid, immigration-fuelled
population growth is likely to be borne by existing residents through greater
congestion, crush-loaded services and infrastructure, reduced urban amenity,
higher housing costs and lower wages?
Hon SUE ELLERY replied:
Part (4) on my copy of the question
included three additional words. After the words ''lower wages'',
it reads ''and cultural disruption'', so the answer has been
prepared with those words. I do not know whether there is a difference from
what Hon Charles Smith lodged.
(1) The state did not make any specific commitments
at the COAG meeting. The 2018–19 Government Mid-year
Financial Projections Statement assumes that net international and
interstate migration to Western Australia combined will be around 85 000
persons over the four years to 2021–22.
(2) State government infrastructure spending is
projected to total $21.5 billion over the four years from 2018–19
to 2021–22 to cater for a growing economy and population.
(3) The government
has not made any commitment or decision on migration or population matters.
This will be considered through the Treasurers' forum, which is
responsible for developing a framework for national population and planning in
Australia. Over the forward estimates, growth in the domestic economy is
expected to return to its long-run average. This will result in rising demand
for labour and better opportunities for people living in Western Australia.
(4) The government is confident that the forecast
population increases will be well catered for by the government's plans
for the provision of infrastructure and services for the benefit of all Western
Australians. The proposed establishment of Infrastructure WA will provide a long-term
strategy that identifies the right infrastructure to be built at the
right time to support economic growth, population growth and job creation.