Australia faces population slump as net migration falls to lowest level in about 70 years

Xinhua
Australia will record its first reversal in net migration in more than seven decades according to local media's report.
Xinhua

Australia will record its first reversal in net migration in more than seven decades according to local media's report.

   The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported on Saturday that the net migration will be negative for the first time since 1946, which will be revealed in next week's budget for financial year 2020/21.

   Last year's 2019/20 budget forecast that Australia's population would grow by more than 1 million people to almost 27 million by 2022, with net migration forecast to account for approximately half of that growth.

   However, the country is now facing a risk of its worst population slump since the Great Depression with the decline in net migration exacerbated by a projected fall in the birth rate amid Australia's first recession since 1991, according to SMH.

   Australia's Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will hand down the budget on Tuesday and said that he wanted a return to a generous intake of migrants, believing the birth rate would revive as confidence returned after the pandemic.

   "It's in Australia's interest to maintain a strong immigration program across a range of areas - skilled migration, family, reunion and humanitarian," he said.

   "Migration will come back as the virus is brought under control. And to be honest, this is why a vaccine is so important."

   "It will be a function of people feeling confident about their economic circumstances. And as restrictions are eased, as people get back to work, more kids will be born. And that's a good thing," he added.

   As of Saturday afternoon there had been 27,121 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in last 24 hours is 10.

   The national death toll increased by three to 893 on Saturday. All three new deaths were in Victoria, the hardest-hit state by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

   "All three of today's new deaths are linked to known aged care facility outbreaks. To date, 805 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria," said a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria on Saturday.  

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