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Government picks up another Coalition initiative

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29 January 1993

Contact Philip Ruddock Pager (02) 925 3911 #25589

Philip Ruddock MP


Federal Member for Dundas Electorate Parliament House

Shadow Minister for Immigration Tel: (02) 858 1011 Tel: (06) 277 4343

and Ethnic Affairs Fax: (02) 804 6739 Fax: (06) 277 2062



How many original thoughts has this Government ever had when it comes to immigration initiatives?

Here again, in the twilight of their term in office, the Government has had to look to the Coalition for good ideas.

The Government's proposal to provide State and Territory Governments the ability to sponsor business migrants was raised by the Coalition as early as March 1991.

It was obvious even then that such a proposal was necessary to provide some incentives to divert the disproportionate level of settlement in some of the Eastern states, particularly NSW and Victoria.

A recent report by the Bureau of Immigration Research showed that NSW continued to dominate as the preferred state of residence for 41.8% of all new settlers.

It is also obvious that the introduction of these changes to the new Business Skills category are a clear indication that the current program is a wash-out. During questions in Senate Estimates last June, it was revealed that only 45 applications had been received for entry under the scheme.

Despite the failure of the scheme to attract people with a successful business background and the potential to make a significant contribution to Australia, the Government has failed to respond adequately, allowing only 15 sponsorships per year for each participating State or Territory.

Other proposals suggested by the Coalition should also be pursued by the Government. For example, State Governments could put forward their own Priority Occupation Lists, since the demand for certain occupations would vary from State to State. The Employer Nomination Scheme could also be adapted and a wider investor category could also encourage investment in local industry.

The Government has shown great wisdom in adopting one of the Coalition's policies. It should continue the trend and adopt them all.

But then again, as all they ever seem to do is to ape the Coalition, perhaps they should just give it away and allow those with the new ideas, initiatives and imagination to take over.