The number of Australians who want the nation’s migrant intake to grow has fallen by a third since 2010, a study has found.
A survey published by Australian National University (ANU) researchers on Tuesday (Jan 15) revealed that 30.4 per cent of Australians believed the country needed more people, down from 45.8 per cent in 2010.
The collapse in support was most prominent among males with only 32.8 per cent supporting a bigger Australia compared to 53.4 per cent in the 2010 poll.
Australia’s population has grown from 22.4 million in December 2010 to 25.2 million in January 2019, with a vast majority of that growth attributed to net overseas migration.
Lead researcher Nicholas Biddle said that crowded cities and the high cost of housing were the most common reasons given for not increasing Australia’s population.
“Nearly nine out of 10 people nominated the cost of housing being too high as a reason for not increasing Australia’s population, while 84 per cent of people said that cities are too crowded and there is too much traffic,” he said in a media statement.
“The policy and social context will always influence Australians’ views on population growth. Most people are now supportive of cultural diversity as a by-product of population growth.”
“On the other hand, geopolitics, defence and population pressures overseas are less likely to factor into someone’s decision than they might have in the past.”
Australia’s migrant intake is set to be a major issue for voters in the general election, which is due to take place in May, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison having already signalled his intention to reduce the intake cap from 190,000.
The results of the ANU survey contradicted the results of a poll taken by market research firm Ipsos in October 2018 that found 52 per cent of respondents supported maintaining or increasing the migrant cap.