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Scott Morrison Set To Cut Immigration, Move Migrants To Smaller Towns Not Cities

Fewer migrants will be allowed to come here and they will not be destined for Bondi or Brunswick, under a plan ticked off by the Government’s most senior ministers.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will not confirm details, but it’s understood Cabinet has approved a shake-up that will see the annual number of migrants capped at 160,000, rather than the existing limit of 190,000.

“There are cities like Adelaide as the [South Australian] Premier constantly reminds me, that are very happy and keen to see greater growth here in South Australia," Scott Morrison said.

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“There are other states like in New South Wales and Victoria and South East Queensland, where the population growth has been impacting on the quality of life of the people who live in those cities.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Adelaide on Tuesday. Photo: AAP

Under the changes, more migrants are set to be forced into quieter corners of the country.

The plan seems similar to one announced last year, where population minister Alan Tudge outlined a plan that would see visa conditions and "incentives" compel migrants to live in regional areas, or at least smaller cities like Adelaide or Hobart, for several years after they move to Australia.

Immigration and infrastructure experts rubbished that at the time, saying the plan is unnecessary and could even harm both citizens and cities.

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“It’s about ensuring you’re taking the opportunities where there needs to be more population growth and easing pressures in places where population growth is creating negative impacts," Morrison said on Tuesday.

Bill Shorten said the plan to cap migration was “not exactly earth-shattering.”

The Opposition Leader said that, given last year there were only 162,000 migrants, lowering the cap will have little real impact.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Image: AAP

“Dog-whistling about immigration and asylum seekers needs to stop," he said.

“It needs to stop because the crazies, the extremists, they take comfort when there is approval given to go down this slippery path of starting to bag immigration.”

The prime minister says the problem of congestion is legitimate, and hit out at his critics.

“I’m determined not to see the serious population growth management issues taken off course, to be hijacked by those who want to push other agendas," he said.

“I have no truck with those agendas and I denounce them absolutely.

“What I am focused on is ensuring liveable cities, that we have good population growth management strategies and that means you have to balance all of these components.”

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Shadow Immigration Minister Shayne Neumann said the government is exploiting the migration debate and arguments about the burdens on infrastructure.

“Immigration has regrettably been used on an ever-increasing basis as a political tool to appeal to people looking for scapegoats, be it for substandard infrastructure or increasing house prices," he said.

“Immigrants improve our society by bringing new ideas and cultures, and Australians support that notion. 620,000 migrant owned businesses in Australia employ more than 1.41 million Australians.”

It is believed the prime minister was going to announce his migration plan this week, but that has been delayed in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.