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Challenge to opposition to "come clean" on migration program



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STATEMENT FROM THE ACTING MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION, LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ETHNIC AFFAIRS, DAVID SIMMONS

The Acting Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, David Simmons, today challenged the Opposition to "come clean" on the size and shape of the Migration Program under a possible Coalition government.

"It's time the Opposition spelt out the nature and extent of proposed cuts which would provide a net immigration intake of between 50,00 and 70,000. In what categories would the reductions occur? What would be the reduction in numbers in

each category? And, importantly, what policy adjustments , would the Opposition make to achieve a smaller program?"mr Simmons questioned.

"The Opposition has stated that a greater emphasis will be placed on attracting skilled migrants yet it fails to recognise that the current migration program, under which migrants have to meet fairly stringent selection

requirements, is achieving record skill levels of around 28 per cent. This compares to the last recession where skill levels fell below 14 per cent?"

Mr Simmons also challenged the Opposition to spell out how it would reduce the migration program while simultaneously increasing skill levels.

Mr Simmons said that the process for deciding the size and shape of the Government's Migration Program was, of necessity, detailed and exhaustive. The Minister, Mr Hand, is currently undertaking extensive consultations with business, union, conservation, community-and other interest groups. The program for next year will be determined once these consultations are completed.

Canberra 18 February, 1992

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: David Chalker David Simmons Office (06) 277.7360

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