Australia today is a wonderfully cohesive yet permissive society. To throw away such a rare combination would be a tragedy

THE Australian-born family will be a minority social group in 15 years, according to new research by demographic consultants Macroplan Australia. Soaring immigration and an ageing population mean that migrant families will outnumber Australian-born residents by 2025.

According to 2006 census data, 40 per cent of Australia’s population were born overseas, or have at least one parent who was born overseas. But if immigration continues at current levels, that will jump to more than 50 per cent by 2025.

The news comes days after Tony Burke’s appointment as Australia’s first population minister, tasked with managing the huge influx of migrants expected to help swell the population to 36 million by 2050, up from 22 million today.

A survey of 3000 people has revealed 70 per cent of Australians do not want a bigger population and less than a quarter favoured immigration as the main contributor.

However, experts say the migrant majority will be a healthy development for Australian culture and attitudes. “It is all adding to the cosmopolitan nature of modern Australia,” said Bernard Salt, a demographic expert at KPMG. “It means our views become less blinkered and we become more tolerant, confident, engaged, opportunistic and optimistic because we are open to new ideas and not obsessed with keeping things the same.”

Brian Haratsis, chief executive of Macroplan, said Australia’s current population tends to “stare at our shoes and say we’re the best in the world” instead of embracing new ideas.