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Minister holds consultations on migration program [Adelaide]

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Mr Philip Ruddock

Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 (06) 277 7860

MPS 3/96


The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, begins consultations tomorrow in Adelaide on the size and composition of next year's immigration and humanitarian program.

"The Government is delivering on its commitment to strengthen consultative arrangements to achieve increased and meaningful community input into policy development and decision making," M r Ruddock said.

"I will hold a round o f consultations in Adelaide over the next two days, discussing program priorities with a wide range o f community groups and organisations.

"To be successful, the immigration program for next year must have widespread community support and acceptance. The consultations I will be undertaking in coming weeks around Australia will allow the community to have input."

M r Ruddock will meet a range of representatives including those from multicultural Australia, the business community, environment groups, planning, the union movement, refugee and other welfare organisations as well as state and local government.

At the beginning of the 1995-96 program year the planning level for the Non-humanitarian Program was set at 83,000 and the Humanitarian Program planning level was 13,000.

"The Government must have the right to vary the size and composition o f the immigration program to take into account economic, social, environmental and international considerations," Mr Ruddock said.

"Family reunion and the humanitarian intake will remain central parts o f the immigration program. We also aim to attract migrants who will make the greatest contribution to Australia, especially in meeting our economic challenges.

"I am not anticipating significant variations in the intake, however I would not want to pre-empt the consultative process."

M r Ruddock has flagged skill levels in the program and ways o f encouraging migrants to settle in regional areas as issues he would like addressed in the consultations.

M r Ruddock has held consultations in Perth and in coming weeks, will visit Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, Brisbane and Hobart as well as some major regional centres.

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CANBERRA 2 April 1996

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Steve Ingram (06) 277 7860, or 0419 278 715

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