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Treasurers to talk population management


Treasurer Josh Frydenberg at a meeting with state treasurers on population growth and management at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, February 8, 2019. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Australia's treasurers are hoping to solve the nation's infrastructure and city congestion issues as they develop a framework to manage population growth.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is meeting with his state and territory counterparts in Canberra on Friday to discuss how the nation can share responsibility for population change.

"Two-thirds of new immigrants are going to our capital cities, in particular Sydney, Melbourne and in southeast Queensland," he said in his opening remarks at the meeting.

"This is creating pressures on infrastructure, not only on our roads but also on our public transport, creating pressures on health, on education and other essential services."

Australia has the fifth fastest rate of population growth in the OECD and hit the 25 million mark two decades earlier than expected, he added.

Friday's discussion follows a meeting between leaders in December, when creating a national framework for managing population growth was agreed.

The treasurers have been tasked with creating the framework, and Mr Frydenberg is hoping his counterparts can see eye-to-eye.

"There is great benefit from the Commonwealth, the states and the territories cooperating more closely in the future than we have in the past on these particular issues," he said.

Australia's permanent migration number is capped at 190,000 people each year but has only reached about 160,000 over the past few years, Mr Frydenberg added.

But the treasurer was coy on whether he thinks the migration cap should be lowered.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is planning to demand more cash for his state, saying it is getting a "raw deal" on commonwealth infrastructure funding.

The state deserves more input in how federal infrastructure is allocated because it is home to the most people, he says.

© AAP 2019