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Friday, 25 September 1970

Mr Daly asked the Minister for Immi gration, upon notice:

(1)   Has any estimate ever been made by his Department of the total cost to Australia for each migrant since the commencement of the scheme.

(2)   If so, what is the estimate.

Mr Lynch (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) (Minister Assisting the Treasurer) -The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   and (2) The 'total cost' to Australia for each migrant involves expenditure extending beyond the annual budget ofthe Department of Immigration, and because of its complexity, no authoritative estimate of the account has been made. However, the direct costs of the immigration programme over the past 25 years,' during which time some 2.6 million settlers have come to Australia, average out at about $285 a head. Spreading the costs only over the 1.7 million migrants who have received assisted passages, the cost amounts to around $435 a bead. There are, of course, also indirect costs, but estimates of these are not available. Against these, and the direct costs, it wouldbe necessary to set the economic gains to Australia. These include:

(a)   cost savings to Australia for migrants' pre- employment training. (Estimates cited by the

Manpower and Social Affairs Committee of O.E.C.D. in 1967 averaged approximately $US8,000.)

(b)   the economies of scale in Austraiian industry made possible by a larger population.

(c)   lower per capita costs than otherwise would be involved for those major items of national expenditure which do not vary pro- portionately with population changes, e.g., transport and communications,

(d)   increases in Gross National Product resulting from strong migrant reinforcement of the workforce.

These and other factors would need to be taken into account before a balanced assessment of costs could be made.

.   This is, . in fact, an important purpose of the cost-benefit analysis of immigration for which I have arranged, on the recommendation of the Immigration Planning Council

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