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Published on March 8th, 2012 | by john.weir

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Migration driving Australian population growth

Migration numbers to Australia are at a two year high, prompting speculation that the much heralded “Big Australia” forecast may happen.

About 146,000 permanent settlers went to Australia in the past year, the most since 2010. There were 14,210 arrivals in January alone – a 41-month high.But the growth in population is much higher when the number of foreigners given permanent residency visas is taken into account. Net overseas migration is about 184,000 a year and is expected to reach 204,000 by mid-2015, according to the latest Immigration Department forecasts.

The so-called Big Australia target of 36 million by 2050, disowned by PM Julia Gillard before the last election, is on track with annual net migration of 180,000 and above.Monash University population expert Dr Bob Birrell said permanent immigration was at a very high level and temporary migration was increasing at an even higher rate.

“This is a sign of what’s in store for us given the Government’s policy settings,” he said.

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