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The Property Council is concerned about lack of population growth. Image – Canva.
  • PCA commends the Government on Australia's economic recovery
  • Warns low population growth will impact upon Australia's long-term economic growth
  • Welcomes home ownership measures, especially for first home buyers

In a statement released by the Property Council of Australia (PCA), the industry body commended the Federal Government on the remarkable recovery of Australia’s economy. However, it has commented that low population growth could ultimately hinder Australia’s economic recovery.

Ken Morrison, PCA chief executive, labelled the Government’s support measures as “sensible” and he expects they will continue to boost industry confidence and stabilise the economy although the closed border remained a key concern.

“The Government has overseen a remarkable economic rebound, but the budget papers reveal that population growth will quickly become an anchor for our economy,” Mr Morrison said.

“Growth in GDP, employment and dwelling investment all shift down gears dramatically as the reality of negative net overseas migration takes over.”

“If borders need to stay closed based on health advice, Australia should avoid getting stuck in a binary choice of opened or closed borders and instead upscale our quarantine capacity.”

Ken Morrison, Property Council Chief Executive

Mr Morrison suggested that upscaling quarantine and border processing capacity and exploring fast-tracked pre-travel testing could be measures that facilitate economic growth while staying safe.

“Who should build and fund the additional quarantine facilities is a question for National Cabinet, but what the Budget makes clear is that Australia cannot afford to wait until this problem hopefully sorts itself out at the end of 2022,” he said.

“We encourage the Government to begin this important work to reopen our borders to the rest of the world in a COVID safe way.”

The Budget anticipates Australia’s population growth will be only about 0.2% over in the next financial year. Net overseas migration is forecast at -77,000 next financial year. The forecasts suggest ‘normal’ levels of migration won’t return until 2024/25.

Mr Morrison is concerned the Australian economy won’t succeed over the long term without population growth.

“The Budget has revealed that our restricted border is the biggest constraint on our economy,” Mr Morrison said.

“Our lack of growth is going to catch up with us with economic and employment growth expectations slowing over the forward estimates.”

“If safe immigration is not resumed until well into 2022, Australia risks losing ground to our competitors as students and high value workers take other opportunities.”

Ken Morrison, Property Council Chief Executive

Budget welcomed

Nevertheless, the PCA welcomed new measures announced in last night’s budget, believing they will aid short-term growth.

“Economic growth is forecast to continue to grow over the next financial year and this is welcome news for industry confidence,” Mr Morrison said.

“The Budget provides a new range of measures to reinforce our recovery, including new home ownership support, tax cuts, additional infrastructure investment, and new incentives to attract global talent.”

In particular, Mr Morrison applauded homeowner support targeted towards first home buyers.

“New and extended homeowner support measures are targeted to help first home buyers bridge the deposit gap and bring the aspiration of home ownership within reach of a broader range of Australians.”

Ken Morrison, Property Council Chief Executive

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