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Budget 1984-85



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BUDG ET 1984-85

News release by the Hon. Stewart West, M.P.

Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Australian Government Publishing Service Canberra 1984

Overview

The Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, the Hon. Stewart West, in announc­ ing his Department’s 1984-85 Budget, said that the allocation reflected the Govern­ ment’s continuing strong commitment to humanitarian issues and the development of programs to assist in the settlement of migrants and refugees.

‘The Government has given priority to these areas, and the 1984-85 Budget allo­ cation of $164 million for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs represents an $18.1 million, or 12.4 per cent, increase over the 1983-84 level of expenditure ($145.9 million),’ Mr West said. Ί am pleased this level of funding has been achieved, despite the Government’s need for overall budgetary restraint.’

Mr West said that the Government believed it was essential to provide a package of comprehensive services to assist migrants settle into the community. ‘Since assuming office, the Government has introduced measures to strengthen post-arrival services, and to satisfy previously unmet needs in this critical area,’ Mr

West said. ‘Significant initiatives were taken in the 1983-84 Budget, and the further measures announced in this year’s Budget fill some remaining gaps.’ In summary, the measures adopted by the Government in 1984-85 include funds

for: « an increase of 10 Grants-in-Aid for community groups and five grants for trade unions; ® an extension and strengthening of the Migrant Resource Centre network; ° $43.74 million for the Adult Migrant Education Program, including—

- additional teacher permanency - additional child care for women attending English courses - enhanced courses in industry programs - additional ‘self-access’ English language centres

- new Commonwealth-State funding arrangements for the provision of English language courses by the States • shop-front Settlement Centres • translator and interpreter services • Inter-Governmental Committee on Migration.

‘These programs reflect the Government’s continuing recognition of the problems faced by migrants in the workplace,’ Mr West said. ‘I believe that the 1984-85 Budget package of programs provides an equitable and realistic response to the special needs of migrants.

‘The Government will continue to review the settlement needs of migrants, to ensure that the programs provided meet these critical needs.’

DETAILS OF 1984-85 BUDGET

Grants-in-Aid and Migrant Workers’ Rights Scheme On assuming office, the Government substantially increased the number of Grants-in-Aid, which enable community organisations to employ social welfare workers, from 140 to 200. The 1984-85 Budget provides for a further 10 grants for community groups, and a further five grants for trade unions.

The scheme will now be separated into two parts, covering: (i) community groups, and (ii) under the Migrant Workers’ Rights Scheme, trade unions. The latter will include nine existing grants allocated to trade unions to meet the needs of migrants in the workplace.

These initiatives, which will total $530 000 in a full year, mean that the Govern­ ment has provided for a 54 per cent increase in the number of grants since assuming office. This reflects the importance the Government attaches to helping community groups assist the successful settlement of migrants.

M igrant Resource Centres The Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) network will be extended and strengthened. The Budget provides an additional $315 000 in 1984-85, bringing total expenditure on this program to $1 835 000. M r West stressed the high priority the Government placed on this program, and pointed out that funds had now been increased by 72 per cent since the Government assumed office.

‘Now that the level of funds has been assessed, a final decision arising from the MRC Locations Review will be announced in the near future,’ M r West said. "Community responses to the preliminary report by external consultants released for comment in February have been taken into account.’

Twenty centres Australia-wide currently provide a comprehensive range of services to migrants. The 1984-85 Budget includes funds for two new centres, in addition to increasing the level of assistance to existing centres.

A dult M igrant Education Program The 1984-85 Budget provides for the expenditure of $43.74m for the Adult Migrant Education Program (AMEP). This represents a substantial increase in the 1983-84 expenditure of $39.02m.

The major features are: (1) $3.06m is being provided in 1984-85 to meet the Government’s commitment to enable permanency for long-serving, non-permanent teachers; $2.73m is to meet the full year cost of positions created in 1983-84 and a further $0.33m is to enable

permanency for an additional 30 teaching positions in 1984-85. Since assuming office, the Government has provided funding to enable permanent employment for an additional 350 teachers in the AMEP. (2) Additional funding ($500 000) will be provided for the provision of child care for women attending English courses. The additional funds will enable the child care arrangements introduced in 1983-84 (at a cost of $550 000) to continue at

planned levels.

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(3) Provision for more flexible English language course arrangements. This includes the provision of longer intensive courses and the establishment of four new ‘self­ access’ centres for AMEP students. ‘Self-access' centres enable migrants to study English at their own pace, at times convenient to them, and with teacher guidance.

Twenty-five ‘self-access’ centres are already successfully established. These new arrangements will cost $280 000 in 1984-85. (4) Integration of the existing on-arrival (courses for newly arrived migrants) and on-going (courses for longer term residents of Australia) phases of the AMEP to

enable the more efficient deployment of teaching resources by the States and to provide a continuum of English learning arrangements for migrants. (5) Further curriculum development at a cost of $50 000. M r West also announced plans for the development in 1984-85 of new administrative arrangements between the Commonwealth and the States for the provision of English courses, which will enable resources to be closely matched to the need for English learning.

The Government will continue the Courses in Industry program at the enhanced level of 1983-84. M r West said that the funding represented continuing recognition by the Government of difficulties faced by non-English speaking migrants in the workplace. Mr West also paid tribute to employers who had agreed to participate in the Courses in Indus­

try program which would complement the new Migrant Workers’ Rights Scheme (see Grants-in-Aid and Migrant Workers’ Rights Scheme section).

Settlem ent Centres

Eight shop-front Settlement Centres located in Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs Regional Offices will be opened at a cost of $610 000 in 1984-85, and totalling $1.3m over three years. The new centres will provide an important link with the existing

network of Migrant Centres and Migrant Resource Centres in delivering a co-ordinated, comprehensive and professional information program for new arrivals. M r West said that it was vital to provide migrants with information about Government and community services and resources to assist their successful settlement. He

emphasised the need to pay attention to this area and noted that improvements in information delivery had already been made. For example, the recent publication Living in Australia provided an extremely useful reference for migrants. M r West said the new shop-front centres would complement existing services and

would prove invaluable to migrants.

T ranslator and Interpreter Services New agreements with the States have been negotiated for the provision of interpreting and translating services. These would ensure that non-English speaking migrants obtained equal treatment before the Courts and access to other services.

‘The 1984-85 Budget provision of $1 128 000, compared with an expenditure of $550 000 in 1983-84, reflects the Government’s aim of providing equal access to services for all non-English speaking migrants,’ M r West said. M r West also referred to the Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS) which plays a vital role in assisting migrants to cope with emergency situations, as well as providing essential settlement information. To enable TIS to cater for these needs promptly and efficiently, TIS offices are being progressively equipped with new telephone switchboards with advanced features such as sophisticated conferencing facilities. A computerised

information system is also being installed to enable TIS operators to provide a comprehensive service to clients.

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C om m ittee for the A llocation o f Loan Funds to Refugees in Centres (CALFRIC) The Committee for the Allocation of Loan Funds to Refugees in Centres (CALFRIC) carries out a critical role in the settlement of refugees by providing interest free loans to assist refugees to move from Migrant Centres into the community. These loans are repayable within two years.

Loans are provided to: - individuals—$100 (maximum) - couples without children—$250 (maximum) - families—$600 (maximum)

CALFRIC has previously been provided with loans from the Commonwealth totalling $1.463m. However, the organisation has experienced some difficulty in operating the loan scheme on a purely voluntary basis. The Government has decided to provide a grant of $16 500 a vear to CALFRIC to assist in its administration of the revolving loan fund.

‘Community groups comprise the membership of CALFRIC and are vital to the successful settlement of refugees,’ Mr West said. ‘I also commend the involvement of voluntary agencies who provide clothing assistance to newly arrived refugees.

‘Commonwealth funds to reimburse agencies will increase by 47 per cent to $385 000 in 1984-85.’

Com m unity R efugee Settlem ent Schem e The 1984-85 Budget provides for continuation of the Community Refugee Settlement Scheme which enables people and groups in the community to sponsor and assist refugees. People who sponsor refugees for a second or subsequent time are eligible for a grant as a contribution towards the costs incurred in providing refugees with initial settlement assistance.

The level of grants are currently: - $170 for sponsoring an individual - $450 for sponsoring a family with up to four members (with an additional $70 for each subsequent family member).

‘This scheme is one example of the Government’s commitment to meeting its humanitarian responsibilities to refugees, as well as encouraging community involvement in assisting the successful settlement of refugees,’ M r West said.

M igrant Project Subsidy Schem e The level of 1984-85 funding for the Migrant Project Subsidy Scheme has been main­ tained at $200 000. The scheme provides financial assistance to organisations for support of projects which

further the welfare and settlement of migrants in Australia. Grants of up to $10 000 are made for projects initiated by ethnic and voluntary agen­ cies. The average grant in 1983-84 was $3500. 'This scheme is proving very useful in providing assistance for organisations who wish

to purchase equipment to set up welfare offices or three way telephone equipment for interpreting purposes,’ M r West said.

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Australian Institute o f M ulticultural Affairs The 1984-85 funding for the Australian Institute of Multicultural Affairs (AIMA) will be $2.53m, compared with $2.4m in 1983-84. ^

‘While the Government has yet to finalise consideration of the report on the review of AIMA and the outcome of the subsequent community consultations, the Government is committed to maintaining and fostering community relations,’ Mr West said.

N ational P opulation Council The 1984-85 Budget includes funds of $132 500 for the operation of the National Popu­ lation Council (NPC). ‘The establishment of the NPC is a Labor Party pre-election commitment,’ Mr West said. ‘It will advise and inform the Government on issues relevant to the well-being of our multicultural society, such as the relationship between population growth, immigration

intake and our economy.’

C ouncil on O verseas Professional Q ualifications Increased resources have been allocated for the new Council on Overseas Professional Qualifications in accordance with the Government's high priority to assist migrants gain recognition of their qualifications. The Budget provides for a 25 per cent increase in oper­ ational expenditure and a further six staff.

This initiative has resulted from the Government’s consideration of the Fry Committee report. ‘Migrants face particular difficulties in having qualifications recognised, which has had a significant effect on their ability to obtain satisfactory employment,’ Mr West said. ‘The Government recognises these difficulties, and is committed to overcoming them.’

Im m igration

1. Immigration Program M r West said that the 1984-85 intake had been set at a level of 74 000 (including 2000 ref­ ugee contingency reserve), as stated in the House of Representatives on 30 May 1984. ‘This provides a reasonable and responsible balance between economic considerations, hu­ manitarian objectives, and the Government’s continuing commitment to family reunion,’

M r West said.

2. Refugee and Special Humanitarian Programs Overall Refugee and Special Humanitarian Programs have been set at 16 000 places, comprising 12 000 assisted passage places, 2000 unfunded places and 2000 contingency reserve. Funding for assisted passages will amount to $8.7m in 1984-85 compared with

$6.9m in 1983-84. ‘This increased level of funding reflects the Government’s continuing commitment to humanitarian programs,’ M r West said. ‘Since the Government assumed office, the Refugee and Special Humanitarian Programs have increasingly responded to world-wide refugee problems, and have been tailored to meet the concerns of those in Australia who have relatives in strife-torn coun­ tries. The Government has also developed the Orderly Departure Program from Vietnam as an alternative to the disorderly departure of boat people. The Government’s refugee ap­

proach, particularly with regard to Indo-Chinese refugees, is to place increasing emphasis on family reunion and negotiated solutions. Special priority is being given to achieving the voluntary repatriation of refugees.’

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While allocations will remain flexible, current planning envisages 8000 funded places for Indo-Chinese, 1000 for East Europeans, 750 for Latin Americans, 750 for Middle Eastern and 500 refugees from other areas. A further 3000 places will be allocated on a humanitarian basis under the Special Humanitarian Program.

3. Business Migration

The 1984-85 Immigration Program provides for an increase in the Business Migration category, recognising the contribution such migration makes towards stimulating business activity and providing employment opportunities. The Government has made a number of changes to this category in 1984-85:

- increasing the program to 4000 visas for business migrants and their families - lifting the minimum capital required to $500 000 from 1 August 1984 (previously $250 000) - encouraging joint ventures with Australian partners, and export and international

trading activities - strengthening assessment procedures by upgrading the professionalism and skills of Business Migration Officers - strengthening the consultation process between key State and Federal Authorities.

Inter-G overnm ental C om m ittee on M igration The 1984-85 Budget provides $270 000 to cover Budget and other contributions to the Intergovernmental Committee on Migration (ICM) which would be required should Australia rejoin that organisation. The appropriation is contingent on the successful nego­

tiation of satisfactory arrangements for Australian membership. The Intergovernmental Committee on Migration (ICM), formerly known as the Intergovernmental Committee on European Migration (ICEM), was established in the early post-World War II years to facilitate the transport and resettlement of displaced per­ sons in Europe to countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States of America and South Africa, as well as countries in Western Europe. ICM headquarters are

located in Geneva, Switzerland. Since that time, the role of ICM has expanded to cover migration movement and associated activities around the world. Australia was a founding member of ICM but in 1973 the then Government decided to withdraw from the organisation. Since then Australia has remained associated, but as an observer.

ICM undertakes on Australia’s behalf the transport of refugee and SHP cases in a number of existing programs. In some countries it handles medical checking arrangements and generally its services have become increasingly valuable to Australia.

The question of Australia rejoining will be the subject of discussions with ICM in the next few months.

O ther details

1. Computer equipment The Budget includes $2.6m for computer equipment, of which $1.9m is allocated for a new computer in the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. This will be used to ensure that essential services such as Citizenship, the Telephone Interpreter Service, the

Adult Migration Education Program and control over entry to Australia, are provided efficiently and promptly.

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2. Overseas students charge Overseas students enrolled in study courses in 1985 will be liable for the following annual charges: Master and doctorate degrees $3350 (previously $2900)

Courses in medicine, veterinary science and dentistry $3100 (previously $2700) All other prescribed courses $2500 (previously $2150) ‘Increases since the charges were introduced in 1980 were significantly lower than education cost increases,’ M r West said. ‘The charges represent around one third of the av­

erage per student recurrent cost for higher education.’ The overseas students charge raised $25.5m in 1983-84 and is expected to raise $32.3m in 1984-85. This is due to an increase in the student charge rate ($3.8m) and an increase in the number of students liable for the charge ($3.0m).

‘The proposed changes to existing charge levels are independent of any future Govern­ ment decisions on overseas student policy following its considerations of two reports sub­ mitted by the Goldring and Jackson Committees,’ M r West said.

3. Departmental fees and charges There will be marginal increases to other existing fees and charges which have not been increased since 1981-82 (with the exception of two new fees introduced in the 1983 Budget relating to temporary residents seeking work). Current fee levels generally have fallen

below the actual cost of processing applications for the respective services. The new fee levels are justifiable on cost increases which have occurred since 1981-82. Details of existing fees and charges and proposed increases are set out below:

C u r r e n t P ro p o s e d

• C h a n g e o f s t a tu s to p e r m a n e n t r e s id e n t

$ $

- w o r k r e la te d g ro u n d s 155 200

- o t h e r g r o u n d s 80 100

• F u r t h e r te m p o r a r y e n tr y p e r m it 30 35

• E v id e n c e o f r e s id e n t s ta tu s 25 30

• E n g lis h l a n g u a g e te s tin g o v e rse a s 30 35

• S p o n s o r s h ip fo r t e m p o r a r y re s id e n ts 125 135

• A p p lic a tio n f o r p e rm is s io n to w o rk lo d g ed in A u s tr a lia 50 55

The proposed fees will apply from 1 October 1984 and are expected to raise $0.7m in a full year.

4. English language speaking programs (Special Broadcasting Service) ‘My colleague, the Minister for Communications, the Hon. M. J. Duffy, will be an­ nouncing separately the allocation of $500 000 to the Special Broadcasting Service for the development of a pilot series of programs designed to teach English to migrants,’ Mr West said. ‘This program will be developed in consultation with the Department of Im­ migration and Ethnic Affairs, and will complement materials developed through the Adult

Migrant Education Program.’ .

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