Brooke Rolfe, Daily Mail, June 19, 2018
A mammoth relocation of Anglo Australians out of Sydney’s western suburbs in favour of a growing ethnic population could have catastrophic future implications, according to experts.
Census statistics revealed low-income migrants flocked to affordable housing areas, while white Australians made up the majority of families who had moved away.
Two-thirds of the 266,000 arrivals in Sydney’s west in the five years leading to 2016 were not born in Australia and did not have Anglo heritage, The Weekend Australian reported.
In the same period, 63 per cent of the 183,000 people who left the area were born in Australia and an additional five per cent were either born in Britain or New Zealand.
The trend was controversially coined ‘white flight’ by NSW Labor leader Luke Foley in a debate last month over migrant patterns in Sydney suburbs.
Mr Foley faced heavy backlash for using the term, which was once used to describe US residents leaving in response to an influx of African-Americans.
He argued he was empathising with migrants in the west who were routinely denied jobs and opportunities that were taken for granted elsewhere.
Areas with the highest concentration of Syrian and Iraqi refugees were Fairfield, Guildford, Granville, Yennora, Sefton and Regents Park, according to Mr Foley.
Melbourne was experiencing similar trends, as more affordable housing in outer suburbs became attractive to families migrating to Australia.
While disagreeing with the ‘politically incorrect’ label, Anglo families moving from low socio-economic areas was a ‘real phenomenon’, according to Australian Population Research Institute’s Bob Birrell.
He suggested the only solution was to cut back on overseas migration, with cheaper housing the main incentive prompting migrants west.
Dr Birrell suggested it wasn’t only incoming cohorts that struggled with displacement, but also locals who had become unfamiliar with their suburb’s rapidly changing face.
He said high volumes of non-English-speaking residents forced schools, clubs, civic associations and shopping areas to change completely in their composition.
Such changes were some of several reasons long-time residents began to feel uncomfortable in their neighbourhoods.
As well as cutting back on migration, Dr Birrell thought it was vital to prioritise accommodation shortages and the role it had on a macro scale.
House prices and rental costs had been driven up by such shortages, and the opening up of more residential space had made areas less attractive to investors.
Mayor Frank Carbone of one of the listed ‘problem areas’, Fairfield, said such forceful migration had put unmanageable strain on services in the suburb.
The area was forced to take in 7000 Syrian refugees – seven times its general limit – under former prime minister Tony Abbott’s decision to accept Syrian Christians dislocated by civil war.
As a result, Fairfield had the biggest unemployment jump in the country and had the highest household occupancy, with migrants unable to find work forced to live with family.
‘The government may have stopped the boats — but they put them on buses to Fairfield,’ Mr Carbone said.
‘All I’m saying is that the federal government has a responsibility — I’m not critical of refugees coming here but we have to make sure our existing resources are not strained beyond what we can cope with. Fairfield has done the heavy lifting for the nation.’
He agreed that a strain on resources was leaving Anglo families with no option but to move to areas outside the western suburbs if they could afford it.
An economic crisis could lie ahead if the pressure on vital resources is not addressed, with a lack of jobs, low income and poverty threatening to plague the west.
While research revealed immigrants were more likely to attain tertiary education than locals, it was unlikely there would be jobs for them to go in to, leading to a subsequent wave of economic downturn.
Mr Carbone said he believed more accommodation and services were the key to solving the growing issue, while migrants learning better English would aid in unemployment figures.