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Ken Morrison has urged all levels of government to boost population growth. Image – Canva.
  • Low population growth is expected to result in slower real GDP growth
  • Ken Morrison has urged greater border processing to increase migration intake
  • Emphasised reforms to streamline planning processes

The Property Council of Australia (PCA) has labelled the federal government’s Intergenerational report as a “wake-up call” for policymakers given concerns surrounding the impact of Australia’s low birth rate over the next several decades.

The report – the fifth instalment – suggests that given the birthrate is expected to continue to fall over the next forty years, the economy will be under pressure due to the smaller and older population.

There simply won’t be enough people of working age to support the growing ranks of the retired and elderly.

Subsequently, any real growth in GDP (measurement of the economy) is expected to slow.

Boost needed

Ken Morrison, PCA chief executive, said to address this issue, the government needs to boost both productivity and population growth.

“Australia has enjoyed a long period of strong population growth which has underpinned our economic prosperity,” Mr Morrison said.

“The IGR’s predictions of reduced population growth and low productivity should be the cause of great concern for all governments as it will quickly become a handbrake on our national and state economies.”

Ken Morrison, Property Council chief executive

Mr Morrison warned that failing to upscale quarantine and border processing capacity will result in long-term consequences, such as students and high-value workers embracing other opportunities,  leading to labour constraints in the economy.

“We need a coordinated National Cabinet roadmap to safely upsize border processing and quarantining arrangements so that we can sustain our remarkable recovery,” clarified Mr Morrison

“Australia has amassed the expertise and has the capacity to reignite the big economic engine of population growth while simultaneously protecting Australians.”

“This doesn’t mean throwing open the borders next week, but it does mean a plan to steadily increase international arrivals in a COVID-safe way and a plan for transition once vaccination has become widespread.”

Streamline planning process

Mr Morrison has reiterated calls for streamlined planning processes which he said will increase efficiency, resulting in stronger economic activity.

“The IGR once again shines a spotlight on the importance turning around Australia’s dire productivity performance of recent years,” Mr Morrison said.

“There is a huge urban dimension to productivity, and this is the responsibility of all levels of government.”

The calls began after the Productivity Commission’s seminal ‘Shifting the Dial’ report, which found one of the big five productivity opportunities was to create better functioning cites and towns.

“Reform of our poor state and territory planning processes would represent low hanging fruit to boost our long-term economic growth – a point called out in the report,” Mr Morrison said.

“We need to be investing in the right infrastructure, fixing housing affordability, reforming archaic planning systems, phasing out stamp duty, and getting zoning right.”

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