Taylor sinks deeper into migration mess

Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor would not reveal the Coalition’s net migration intake from mid-2026. Picture: NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor has further confused the Opposition’s proposed cuts to the net migration intake, indicating a deeper reduction to the target than he previously outlined in a major speech just last Wednesday.

Speaking to Sky News Australia on Sunday, Mr Taylor would not reveal the number the Coalition would target from mid-2026, but argued a future Coalition government would slash net overseas migration by a quarter on Labor’s projections from that date.

“Peter Dutton has already talked about that in the first year we would see a reduction of around 37 per cent in … net overseas migration, and then that would move to the 25 per cent reduction,” he told the program.

Net overseas migration (NOM) refers to the difference between the number of international arrivals staying in Australia for longer than 12 months, and the number of long-term and permanent departures.

Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor appeared to contradict himself when arguing that the net migration intake would be cut by 25 per cent from mid-2026 under a Coalition government. Picture: NewsWire / Martin Ollman

A 25 per cent cut on Labor’s projected intake in 2026-27 and 2027-28, would mean an average annual intake of approximately 176,000 a year.

Coupled with a target of 160,000 in 2025-26, previously announced by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, the Coalition’s target would equate to 512,500 over the three-year period, a 29 per reduction in Labor’s forecast intake of 725,000.

That 29 per cent figure is higher than the 25 per cent cut that Mr Taylor had previously committed to at the National Press Club on Wednesday, which he argued would occur over the same period.

“Over the coming years, over a term of government, there will be a 25 per cent reduction. That is the plan,” Mr Taylor said at the time.

Despite not declaring the near-term NOM figures, Mr Taylor said the Coalition’s policy would reduce pressure on housing demand and consequently ease prices.

“The important point here … is if we’re going to have Australians being able to get into a home to realise the great Australian dream of homeownership, then we’ve got to have a situation where we’ve got a housing supply balanced with immigration,” Mr Taylor said.

“It’s absolutely crucial and right now we don’t have that we’ll have we’re approaching a million new Australians since Labor came to power.

Adelaide Airport
The Coalition’s proposed cuts to the net migrant intake still remain unclear. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Kelly Barnes

“And the result of that is it’s just getting harder and harder for young Australians to buy a home or even rent a home frankly, so they’re getting that balance right”.

Even as Mr Taylor said the Coalition would move to cut the “big” number of international students, who contribute $36.4bn to the Australian economy, Mr Taylor said the clampdown would not cost the budget bottom line.

“We should have international education, it’s an important part of our economy, but it is about getting the balance right and we’ve lost that balance with those numbers,” Mr Taylor said.

“We’re confident that the package of policies that we announced on budget reply night is revenue neutral. It’s going to be positive for the budget and we can get this balance right.”

Asked if the Coalition’s policy was a risk to the economy, Mr Taylor replied with a defiant “no” and accused Labor of relying too much on high immigration levels.

“The only way Jim Chalmers gets this economy to grow is through immigration. That is the wrong approach … he’s got it all wrong,” he said.

“We are in a household recession right now and if his answer is higher immigration than he needs to explain that to the Australian people.”