Have 50,000 asylum seeker arrivals added to traffic congestion in Western Sydney? > Check the facts

Who: “[Asylum seekers are] a hot topic here because our traffic is overcrowded…go sit on the M4, people see 50,000 people come in by boat.” Liberal Candidate for Lindsay, Fiona Scott.

The claim: The arrival of asylum seekers is putting pressure on traffic in the electorate of Lindsay.

The facts: According to the UNHCR 34,963 asylum seekers arrived in Australia between 2007 and 2012. Reports from the Department of Immigration (here and here) show that 18,527 people have been granted refugee status since 2007-08.

The population of the electorate of Lindsay increased by 13,353 people between the 2006 and 2011 census. Of the 148,984 people who lived in Lindsay in 2011 only 6,384 people, or four per cent, had arrived in Australia in the past ten years.  Of those recent migrants, a third were from Europe and New Zealand and a further third were from Southern and Central Asia.

The finding: 50,000 asylum seekers have not moved to the electorate of Lindsay. Total population increased by just over 13,353 people between 2006 and 2011.

Discussion of evidence: Although Australia has recently seen an increase recently in the number of asylum seekers arriving by boat, this has not had a large impact on the population of Western Sydney. Furthermore, of those asylum seekers who have arrived many have not yet had their refugee claims processed, as discussed in this fact here. The claim that 50,000 extra asylum seekers have added to Western Sydney’s traffic congestion is unfounded.

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