7  June 2011 – Demographer Bernard Salt claims that 180,000 skilled migrants per year can deliver a sustainable future for Australia.

Writing in his latest book, The Big Tilt: What Happens When the Boomers Bust and Xers and Ys Inherit the Earth, Mr Salt a KPMG partner, calls for strong and visionary leadership to manage what he describes as the profound demographic challenges of the 2010s.

Published by Hardie Grant, the book takes both a broad and a micro view of the Australian continent and people in the era that lies beyond the baby boom.  The big tilt refers to baby boomers tipping or tilting out of the workforce and into retirement.

“Australia needs the skills, the labour, the tax-paying capacity of new migrants to maintain living standards, to underpin the tax base, and to capture the prosperity of the mining boom,” he says in a KPMG statement.

“If we adopt a small-Australia policy of 70,000 migrants per year, this will add barely 500,000 or three per cent to the working age population by 2021.

“If we take the big-Australia path of 180,000 migrants per year, we will add 1.4 million or nine percent to the productive tax-paying population by 2021.”

Mr Salt said migrants should be directed where workers are needed in the same way that post-war migrants were directed to Cooma to build the Snowy Mountains hydro electric scheme in the 1950s.

He wrote the book as a response to the most common question he receives from business: “What will Australia and our customers look like at the end of the decade?”

Key findings of the book also include:

The rise of the moral consumer—the global financial crisis has changed consumer sentiment.  Gone is the live-in-the-moment ideology; in its place is a more measured consumer interested in value, paying back debt and atoning for the sins of the past. But how long will this new consumer paradigm last?

Australians’ loss of confidence in managing the future—scared of growing by 60 per cent from 22 million to 36 million over 40 years.  And yet over the last 40 years the nation has increased from 12 million to 22 million which is an 80 per cent increase.  It’s almost as if this generation of Australians has lost confidence in our ability to manage the future.

Smartphone addiction and intoxification—the insidious fusion of phone and internet has allowed work to expand into a 24/7 proposition.  iPhone owners read emails on the weekend.  On holidays.  We are breeding a generation of workers who never switch off.  Will there be mass burn out in the 2020s?

Fastest growing places in the 2010s will be lifestyle and muscle towns—based on projections sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics the fastest growing towns in Australia over the 12 years to 2021 will be Hervey Bay (up 52 per cent), Bunbury (up 39 per cent), Gladstone (up 37 per cent), Gold Coast ((up 36 per cent) and Sunshine Coast (up 34 per cent).

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