Premier blasted for blaming infrastructure issues, population pressures on migrants

The Queensland premier has been accused of “cheap politics” after claiming record migration caused traffic congestion.

May 23, 2024, updated May 23, 2024
Queensland's worst traffic black spot, Gympie Road, Chermside. (file image)

Queensland's worst traffic black spot, Gympie Road, Chermside. (file image)

Steven Miles on Wednesday doubled down on his call for the commonwealth to moderate migration, saying an unprecedented number of arrivals had put pressure on state transport and roads.

The Greens said Mr Miles was making migrants “scapegoats” for poor government planning ahead of the October state election.

More than 120,000 people moved to Queensland in the year up to September 2023 – a 170 per cent increase on pre-COVID numbers.

It included almost 88,000 international arrivals, a state record for overseas migration.

Mr Miles said the rapid population growth had put pressure on the state’s roads and transport systems “contributing to increased congestion”.

He said 229,000 extra daily trips were being taken by overseas and interstate migrants on roads or public transport each day in Queensland.

The premier said overseas migration must be moderated so infrastructure could catch up.

“This is simply about saying that population is growing at a rate faster than we can build houses and the infrastructure that we need,” Mr Miles said.

Skilled migrants such as construction workers and healthcare staff were still welcome, he said.

“We need to ensure that we are prioritising the right skills so we wrote to the Australian government and urged them to prioritise construction workers so that they can help us to build the houses we need,” Mr Miles said.

Mr Miles last week called for the federal government to cut migration numbers, saying the state had a housing shortage.

InQueensland in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The premier on Wednesday added transport concerns, with projects such as the Logan and Gold Coast Faster Rail or Direct Sunshine Coast Rail still under construction or yet to start.

Queensland Greens leader Michael Berkman said the government should not be blaming migrants for a failure to deliver basic services, comparing him with federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.

“I think this is really cheap politics from the premier,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“He’s chosen to go down the divisive rhetorical line that Peter Dutton siphoned off, find a scapegoat in migrants and point the finger at them.”

Mr Dutton proposes to reduce the permanent migration intake by a quarter.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner backed the premier’s migrant moderation push.

“What do you do when you find yourself in a hole? You stop digging,” he said on Wednesday.

“Every week, there are more and more people arriving in southeast Queensland to live … but we’re already struggling at current levels of population.”

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InQueensland.
All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy