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Chamber Exports should be driving force

AUSTRALIA needs more immigration, but new arrivals will never drive our economy like exports.

That was the word from highly regarded economist Don Stammer, after he addressed the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce this week.

Dr Stammer, who is a director of ING Australia, said he believed the immigration rate, at around 80,000 a year, had been cut excessively from its peak in the Hawke-Keating era of around 160,000.

He said that although he thought Australians invested too heavily in residential property, the lack of immigration made it even tougher for those who wished to own their home.

“People have to put a huge amount of arithmetic into making a property purchase decision,” Dr Stammer said.

Following the meeting, which included a loungechair interview with financial commentator David Koch, he said immigration was helpful for the economy, particularly business immigrants who brought skills and refugees who were prepared to work hard to make a new life.

But immigration was not a panacea to Australia’s increasingly being left out of the world economy. “If we want a big economy and a strong economy we have to do it through exports, not immigration,” he said.

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