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Thursday, 13 May 1965

Senator ANDERSON - The Acting Minister for Immigration has supplied the following answer - 1 and 2. A number of Australian housing development firms have established offices in the United Kingdom, or appointed representatives there. These arrangements have not required the prior permission of the Australian Government.

The Department of Immigration provides, within its service to migrant applicants, detailed and factual information concerning housing in Australia and these official activities do not depend, in any way, upon a supplementary service from private sources. However, to the knowledge of the Department a number of these firms provide information to prospective migrants concerning specific housing possibilities in the particular States in which they operate, but the advice of the Depart- ment on this subject is that any firm contractual arrangements should be concluded only after arrival in Australia through solicitors who are expert in these matters.

Under the Commonwealth-State Agreement, the Immigration Departments of the State Governments are the authorities which accept personal nominations under the British assisted passage scheme. In some States, approval has been given for certain housing firms to lodge personal nominations in favour of British families. The conditions governing the acceptance of such nominations are laid down by the State Government authorities concerned. One common condition is that the nominated families arc not to be required to enter into any commitment for house purchase prior to departure from the United Kingdom, nor are they to be subject to any penalty should they decide, after arrival in Australia, against entering into any house purchase arrangement with the firm which sponsored their migration to Australia.

As already mentioned, these arrangements are decided upon and controlled by the State Governments concerned and not by the Commonwealth Department of Immigration, although, naturally, as in all matters affecting migration, there is a regular exchange of information. In this regard, the Commonwealth Department of Immigration is aware that approval is given to such arrangements by the Stale authorities only after careful examination and rot on a basis of preference for a particularfirm; that the operation of the arrangements is closely watched by the State authorities concerned and that these arrangements have enabled large numbers of very suitable families to migrate to Australia and become well established in a much shorter time than would otherwise have been possible.

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