Record migration blamed for congested roads, transport

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

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.

Steven Miles says the state’s infrastructure can’t keep up with rising migration numbers. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

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 prioritizing the right skills so we wrote to the Australian government and urged them to prioritize 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.

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

Michael Berkman says the premier is diverting attention from the government’s failures. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

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 escapegoat 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.”

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