The Australian Population Research Institute is an independent research organisation. It is devoted to understanding and communicating the nature of Australia’s demographic and economic situation and the policies and factors influencing this.

It is a not-for-profit Institute with no funding from corporate Australia. Its members are all participating researchers who contribute to the Institute’s work.

New research report, 1 June 2016
Mike Moynihan and Bob Birrell, Why the public cost of GP services is rising so fast
The AMA and the Royal Australian General Practitioners Society have threatened to incite their patients to vote against the Coalition because it has capped Medicare rebates and frozen their indexation. This a hollow threat because the number of GPs billing on Medicare has risen to the point that any doctor that tries to charge a co-payment will lose patients to doctors nearb, who do not charge a co-payment. This study shows that the official GP workforce policy is still guided by a myth that there is a shortage of GPs. This shortage has long gone. The oversupply, especially in metropolitan areas will get worse as more of the Overseas Trained Doctors that have completed their service requirements in undersupplied areas move into oversupplied areas. Many more of the sharply increasing number of Australian-trained GPs will do so as well. They can serve where they please regardless of whether the area is already oversupplied. The answer is for the Government to stop issuing Medicare provider numbers in oversupplied areas. Doctors, like school teachers ,should serve where they are needed, not where they would like to practice.

New blog post, 26 May 2016
Bob Kinnaird, Australian temporary work visa concessions in the Singapore FTA package
There are three significant immigration commitments in the Turnbull government’s Australia-Singapore ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’.
Australia has committed:
* not to apply labour-market testing in the 457 visa program to all Singaporean nationals and to some categories in the 400 visa program
* to a reciprocal work and holiday visa program (462 visa) for 500 young Singaporeans aged 18-30 allowing up to 12 months work in Australia
* to set up a pilot internship program in Australia for Singaporean students, with the promise of more such internship commitments in Australia’s future trade deals with other countries.
These internships are a key plank in the Turnbull government’s plan for a National Strategy for International Education 2025 which aims ‘to provide greater opportunities for work, integrated learning and internships for international students’.
Where are the rights of young Australians to job opportunities in this plan?

Research report, 20 April 2016
Adrienne Millbank, Moral confusion and the 1951 Refugee Convention in Europe and Australia
Europe’s migrant crisis displays all the moral confusion at the core an asylum system based on the outdated 1951 UN Convention.
It skews the refugee effort, is used as a migration channel, confers advantage on those with the resources to move, encourages people to risk their lives and is impossible to administer with integrity.
The system leads to a cruel ‘Hunger Games’ dystopia where asylum seekers are welcomed as they arrive in Berlin—only after they had paid thousands of Euros to people smugglers, survived hazardous boat trips, trudged through cold and mud, and pushed through barbed wire and humiliation in countries where their presence was resented.
Meanwhile those refugees most in need of help remain stuck in their own countries or marooned in poverty and camps in neighbouring countries. Reform is essential.
Read Adrienne Millbank’s blog post.

Recent research report, 6 March 2016
Bob Birrell and David McCloskey, Sydney and  Melbourne ‘s housing affordability crisis–Report Two: No end in sight
Since 2013 the Federal Coalition government and the state governments of NSW and Victoria have embraced the challenge of providing affordable housing in Sydney and Melbourne. They hoped that in the process the housing industry would fill the gap emerging in the national economy as the mineral investment boom slowed. At the same time they have supported the maintenance of high overseas migration despite knowing that around half of the intake settles in Sydney and Melbourne.
They have encouraged investment in housing and, in the case of the planners in Sydney and Melbourne, have rezoned vast tracts of their respective inner cities for intensive housing development. The planners have also relied on the promotion of infill (low rise units and apartments) in established suburbia to provide affordable family friendly housing.
These policies have failed. There has been a huge increase in housing investment in Sydney and Melbourne but most of it has been in existing detached houses. The result has been a speculative bubble in such housing that has made the housing crisis even worse. To the extent that there has been an increase in new dwellings it has predominantly been in the form of small high rise apartments.
The outcome is that the shortage of affordable family friendly housing in Sydney and Melbourne has deepened. Much of the younger generation of aspiring home owners is destined for rental bondage as they are displaced by investors. On the other hand a glut of high rise apartments is looming.
The Turnbull government’s reaction is to abandon the next generation, in the interest of protecting the capital gains of the housing rich.
This report explains why this debacle has come to pass and how it might be rectified.