Dick Smith blames 'ridiculous immigration' for high house prices in Australia

Photo: Scott Barbour/ Getty Images.

Australian businessman Dick Smith says “ridiculous immigration” is the “main driver” behind the country’s housing affordability crisis.

“The main point that’s driving our unaffordable housing is about 200,000 immigrants come in a year. That’s five jumbo loads a week that go out empty,” he told Sky News.

“All of our problems are from this unbelievable population increase. You can’t drive in Sydney at the moment. The housing prices are enormous.

“The most fundamental right is to get a house with a backyard. Young couples can’t do that anymore, purely driven in 95% of cases by the enormous population increase, mainly driven by ridiculous immigration.”

Smith, who set up his own company to produce Australian-made food products, has backed controversial One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and her immigration policies leading into the next state and federal elections.

He says she could even see a Trump-like wave of support.

“I agree with her views on immigration numbers, that is about 70,000 a year, not 200,000,” he previously said. But he does not agree with her views on Muslim immigration.

Smith’s commentary comes as the Turnbull government debates how to tackle the housing affordability crisis, in which ownership has become painfully expensive in Australia’s major cities.

According to data from CoreLogic, there are now more suburbs in Sydney with a median house price of more than $2 million than there are with a median price of $600,000 or lower.

Yesterday, Michael Sukkar, assistant minister to the treasurer, and charged with forming the government’s policy on housing affordability, said the first step for young Australians to buy a house was getting a “highly paid” job.

A similar ideal held by former treasurer Joe Hockey whose advice to anyone wanting to buy their first home in Sydney was to “get a good job that pays good money”.

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