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Qld Labor PM backs Coalition migration cuts

Labor and Nationals politicians have split with their own parties as immigration becomes a top issue for voters.

Adoni Media founder and managing director Leisa Goddard has negatively assessed Queensland Premier Steven Miles’ announcement on migration “165 days after the state election”. This comes amid the Queensland Premier’s statement urging the federal government to moderate migration to avoid overwhelming the housing market. “How many years has the Labor government here (Queensland) had to watch what happens to the people coming into this state,” Ms Goddard told Sky News presenter Chris Kenny. “You know what the numbers are, that’s your time to then start planning. “Not now, when I think 165 days have passed since the election here in this state.”

Similarly, the Nationals are grappling with internal divisions over the issue, as several politicians call for stronger cuts to immigration in regional areas.

While Labor has said it would reduce permanent migration from 190,000 to 185,000, the Coalition has said it will go further to 140,000 and then 160,000 in two years.

Miles’ move is at odds with the federal Labor government, which has said the opposition’s “excessive” cuts to the migration sector would hurt universities and aged care.

Mr Miles told a news conference that the tougher migration restrictions were his idea at first before Opposition Leader Peter Dutton announced them in his budget response last week.

“You will notice that Peter Dutton has said what I said first – and that is that the level of migration we are experiencing in Queensland is putting too much pressure on our housing system,” Miles said on Monday.

Mr Dutton has claimed the proposal would free up about 40,000 homes in the first year, and 100,000 homes over the next five years.

The Labor Prime Minister said he welcomes the Opposition ‘echoing’ his comments and stated that current migration levels have left Queensland with a shortage of 27,000 homes a year.

“We have a plan to build homes for Queenslanders, but that plan needs time to deliver the homes, it needs time to catch up,” he said.

Australian National Editor Dennis Shanahan says Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has made immigration and housing “interchangeable” as major issues arising from the cost of living crisis. “Housing and immigration have merged, they are now the only issue,” Shanahan told Sky News presenter Peta Credlin. “They are actually symptoms of the larger cost of living problems, and the cost of living is also driven by energy.”

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The housing problem in the Sunshine State appears to be a major concern for politicians, as several national MPs have called for cuts to migration to the regions.

Senator Matt Canavan has said: “We have huge housing problems here and they need to be addressed before we can continue to grow our population.”

Member for Flynn, Colin Boyce, has said: “A reduction in immigration would certainly have an impact on regional and rural Australia, and I am not aware of the priorities given to regions in terms of a broad overall policy. ”

Nationals leader David Littleproud told Sky News Australia on Sunday the coalition would seek to divert skilled migrants from metropolitan areas to rural towns.

“What we will also be announcing is the return of the ag visa – and that is a special agricultural visa and this is to ensure that we get the balance right in regional Australia as well,” the Queensland MP said.

Queensland MP Steven Miles has said he had the idea to reduce immigration before the Coalition announced its plans. Photo: NCA NewsWire / Glenn Campbell

A survey by The Sydney Morning Herlad found that more than 65 percent of voters thought last year’s actual migration figures were too high.

About 50 percent of voters believe next year’s immigration numbers are also too high.

Immigration is becoming a danger sign for Labor as voters appear increasingly concerned about the country’s ability to manage population growth in the run-up to the election.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will visit Brisbane on Thursday and Friday, where immigration and housing will be popular topics of discussion.

Queensland Labor faces a looming election in October, ahead of the federal election expected in May 2025.