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Regional revitalisation initiatives from Liberal ethnic and multicultural affairs spokesmen



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Philip Ruddock MP Federal Member for Dundas Shadow Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Electorate Tel: (02) 858 1011 Fax: (02) 804 6739

Parliament H ouse Tel: (06) 277 4343 Fax: (06) 277 2062

REGIONAL REVITAT .T S ATT O N INITIATIVES

F ROM LIBERALĀ· ETHNIC AND MtJI/riCtTLTtrRAL AFFAIRS SPOKESMEN

Liberal Ethnic and Multicultural Affairs spokesmen proposed a number of initiatives which could help revitalise flagging regional areas, during a meeting held in Sydney today.

It was generally felt that there were limited arrangements currently in place to encourage migrants to settle in regional areas of Australia.

The migration program currently allows 5 points for applicants who are sponsored by family living in certain designated areas, which are determined by each State or Territory Government.

However, the efficacy or desirability of this method of relocation was questioned. The numbers of migrants currently moving to regional areas under this system was considered insignificant.

A number of initiatives came from West Australian Shadow Minister Mr George Strickland, South Australian Graham Ingerson and Tasmanian John Barker, the States most interested in opening up their regional territory to migrants.

Queensland also indicated that it was keen to offer aditional opportunities in this area.

It was suggested that current schemes be re-organised to sharpen the regional focus.

For example, State Governments could put forward their own Priority Occupation Lists since the demand for certain occupations would vary from State to State and in regions within States. More points would be allocated for those

occupations in greater demand in designated areas.

The Employer Nomination Scheme could also be adapted for States' own requirements in tune with priority occupations.

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Also, under the Business Migration Program, a regional focus could be encouraged by requiring less capital transfer from applicants prepared to conduct their business ventures in particular States or regions. Victorian Shadow Minister David Perrin lamented the lack of applicants in this category coming to Victoria and welcomed this initiative.

It was also agreed that comprehensive information on the attractions and opportunities of all Australian States be provided for intending migrants at overseas posts. Currently the information is limited and most migrants are familiar only with the two major cities.

All of these options could be usefully pursued by the Federal Government in co-operation with the States. Most of these options would require the issue of conditional visas. As these are already being used to test the bona-fides of spouses or de-factos and for independent retirees, this should present no difficulty.

The spokesmen all agreed that these new and positive

initiatives would provide an impetus to revitalise flagging regional economies both in the shorter and longer term.

ENDS

March 22 1991

Contact Philip Ruddock (02) 630 4575 a/h