Federal government urged to fast track migration plan

Laine Clark |

Queensland Deputy Premier Cameron Dick has urged the commonwealth to get cracking on migration cuts.
Queensland Deputy Premier Cameron Dick has urged the commonwealth to get cracking on migration cuts.

A looming housing crisis has prompted calls for the commonwealth to fast track plans to halve overseas migration.

Queensland Deputy Premier Cameron Dick says prompt action must be taken after record numbers flocked to the state.

However Mr Dick says it is “offensive” to suggest the state government is courting the anti-immigration and One Nation vote ahead of the October state election.

Mr Dick said Queensland would struggle to keep up with housing demand, revealing the state’s population had grown by a record 144,000 – including 88,000 from overseas – in the year to September 2023.

A nationwide spike in the number of people coming to Australia in the past year recently prompted the federal government to announce an overhaul of the migration system, including a plan to halve net overseas migration by 2025.

Mr Dick on Tuesday backed the strategy but urged the government to
“get on with that”.

“Something needs to happen and that is why we are calling on the federal government to take prompt action to reduce migration,” he said.

Mr Dick said on current figures Queensland would need about 60,000 new houses to keep up with the influx.

“We have got a demand problem now when it comes to housing in particular,” he said.

“That’s just the reality. We’ve done everything we can. We’ve pulled every possible lever.”

Asked if his Labor party was stealing One Nation’s policies before the election, Mr Dick said: “I reject that entirely. That is quite an offensive thing to say.

“That’s not our position at all…Queensland has built its history on migration.”

Mr Dick said skilled migration was still needed, with the state government reportedly welcoming the commonwealth’s agreement to prioritise visas for construction workers.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli accused the state government of poor planning “after welcoming everybody in”.

“What we’re seeing today is a government that will do and say anything in the shadows of an election after being cheerleaders for migration for a decade and just not planning for it,” he told reporters.