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Wednesday, 8 December 1965

Mr CALWELL (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) - I ask the Minister for Immigration a supplementary question. Admitting the truth of all that he has said about the success of our immigration policy in attracting and holding migrants, will the Minister investigate the possibility of retaining some of those who want to go back and of attracting more by asking his colleagues to provide houses in advance for migrants who wish to come here, after the Government has provided houses for Australians who wish to marry and for those who cannot obtain houses today?

Mr OPPERMAN - The honorable member raises a matter of policy that is not directly related to immigration. However, I point out that we have hostels for migrants who come here. Similar hostels are not provided in other countries. Many migrants in hostels are quite happy to be there. The Government has a scheme of hostel subsidies which allows migrants to save for the purpose of buying a house. We have always stressed the need to have sponsored migration to Australia. In this scheme, the sponsor would have accommodation ready for the migrant. I repeat what I said recently in answer to a question. The Liberal Government that was in office in South Australia for a long time developed an excellent housing scheme and that State provided more personal nominations for migrants than did any other State. I add that the length of the stay in migrant hostels has fallen from the original average of two years to an average now of eight months. This would suggest that there has been an improvement in housing.

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