Australia cuts migrant intake
Updated 20:53, 30-Mar-2019
Greg Navarro
Australia's government says changes to its immigration policies are aimed at easing urban congestion. That includes cutting the number of permanent migrants by 30,000 people a year. 
The government is also barring some new arrivals from living in the country's largest cities for at least five years, and providing incentives for international students to study at regional universities.
The government argues that its major cities are struggling under rapid population growth, impacting everything from public transportation to housing.
"There is no doubt that we have substantial congestion. Anyone who lives in Sydney realizes that, or Melbourne," said University of Technology Sydney professor Jock Collins. "The problem is that the large immigration program over the last seven decades hasn't been met by the public infrastructure investment, particularly public transport is the big issue there and in Sydney in particular so that is a big issue."
University of Sydney political science lecturer Stewart Jackson believes the changes are motivated by an upcoming federal election just months away. Much of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's campaign recently had focused on border security, and stopping boats filled with people seeking asylum in Australia illegally from reaching the country's shores.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. / Reuters Photo

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. / Reuters Photo

"Post Christchurch, it becomes not possible to talk about holding those people away as somehow they are brown people who shouldn't be brought here, or words to those effects, you have this situation of oh, we can't talk about it in the context of white supremacy, we might be seen as very specifically racist, so we will talk about migration then and who comes to the country and what do we need here," said Jackson.
Collins says immigration appears to be receiving a bigger focus globally these days.
"I think, particularly at the moment with the Trump populism and so forth, that people have been playing the immigration card for political reasons and Australia is no exception to that," he said.