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Premier calls for return to ‘Howard era’ immigration levels

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is calling for immigration levels to be halved until a population policy is implemented in the state.

The state’s premier wants to see a return to “Howard era” immigration levels.

Under John Howard’s prime ministership, Ms Berejiklian says net migration rates were around 45,000.

In recent years, that figure has almost doubled and is now higher than 100,000.

The state government has set up a panel to examine immigration rates in New South Wales.

The team of experts will analyse the current rate of population growth and the state’s infrastructure plans.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian tells Chris Smith she wants to see a return to “Howard era” immigration levels to give the state a “breather”.

“New South Wales will always be open to migrants,” she says.

“But that is distinct from population policy and we are spending more than any other government has ever spent on infrastructure… and we’re still playing catch up.

“What I do want to do is make sure I shout from the rooftops that New South Wales, as a larger state, the most successful state in the nation, deserves to have a say on these issues.”

Click PLAY below for the full interview with Premier Gladys Berejiklian

The Premier says she wants the money the government is investing in infrastructure to go towards the future, not towards playing catch-up.

“It’s about providing for our future a good quality of life. That’s why I’ve said let’s take a breather.”

President of The Sustainable Australia Party William Bourke tells Deborah Knight halving the immigration rate is a “good start”.

“We know that the long-term average of annual immigration to Australia is about 70,000 and we’re running at about 200,000.

“Halving it would be a really good start, then we’d go from there.”

Mr Bourke says it’s time for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to “grab the bull by the horns” and cut the migration rate.

Click PLAY below for the full interview with William Bourke