Indian migrants will be one of the largest communities in this country in the next 15 years when Australia-born families will become a minority group, a media report said on Sunday, citing statistics from a consulting firm.
Outnumbered by a surging wave of migrants from Europe and Asia, especially India and China, Australians will become a minority group in their own country within 15 years, Australia-based Daily Telegraph reported, quoting figures from demographic consultants MacroPlan Australia.
It said most migrants came from Britain (14.2 per cent), followed by New Zealand (11.4 per cent), India (11.2), China (10.5) South Africa (5.3) and the Philippines (4.1).
“Figures from MacroPlan Australia show record overseas migration, and an ageing population means migrant families will overtake the number of locally born residents by 2025 — far sooner than previously imagined,” the newspaper reported.
According to the 2006 census data, 40 per cent of Australia's population was either born overseas or had at least one parent who was born abroad. With the current immigration levels, that proportion will jump to over 50 per cent by 2025.
The newly appointed and the first Population Minister, Tony Burke, now faces the task of managing the influx of migrants, expected to swell the population from 22 million to 36 million by 2050.
In a survey of 3,000 people conducted after Mr. Burke was sworn in, 70 per cent of Australians said they do not want a bigger population. Fewer than a quarter favoured immigration as the main contributor.
But experts said a migrant majority will be healthy for Australian culture and attitude.
“It all adds to the cosmopolitan nature of modern Australia,” KPMG demographer Bernard Salt said. “It means our views become less blinkered, and we become more tolerant, confident, engaged, opportunistic and optimistic because we are open to new ideas, not obsessed with keeping things the same.”
MacroPlan chief executive Brian Haratsis said Australians tended to “stare at our shoes and say we're the best in the world.”
“While immigration needs to be managed with better infrastructure, we also need high immigration for sound economic reasons — if we don't, we'll all end up paying higher taxes.”
Bob Birrell, co-director of the Centre for Population and Urban Research and reader in sociology at the Monash University, said the ratio of foreign-born residents was already higher in Sydney and Melbourne because they were the two most popular destinations for new arrivals.
“We're getting lots more Indian and Chinese immigrants coming to study, but many of those will end up settling here,” Mr. Birrell said.
The Federal government estimates that cutting immigration from 2,80,000 to its target of 1,80,000 will result in a population of 36 million by 2050.
But it also means the number of working taxpayers will halve in relation to the number of people aged over 65. Mr. Salt said there would be more Iraqi and Afghan migrants.