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Tuesday, 9 May 1961

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for Immigration, upon notice -

1.   Has his department ever made an assessment of the average cost of bringing an immi grant to Australia and settling the immigrant in this country?

2.   If so, what are the details?

Mr Downer - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   An essential feature of the administration of the immigration programme is an appreciation of the cost factors involved. Consequently, the costs of immigration, including those two aspects to which the honorable member's question refers, are subject to a continuing review and examination.

2.   For the post-war period, the average cost of bringing a migrant to this country, based on the Australian Government's contribution towards the cost of assisted passages, has been £68. The average cost of £68 relates to an estimated intake to the end of this financial year of approximately 890,000 assisted passage migrants and a total expenditure of £60,785,871 on passage costs. The average would be considerably less, however, if this expenditure were related to the direct net gain in population from migration. This, in the post-war period, comprises approximately 1,220,000 persons representing long-term and permanent arrivals less departures, added to which is a figure approaching 600,000 children born in Australia to migrant parents. On this basis, the average cost would be reduced by half. The average of the direct costs incurred by the department in settling a migrant in this community varies. For those assisted passage migrants who have been personally sponsored and who, on arrival, proceed direct to private accommodation arranged by their nominator, the costs are relatively slight. They are somewhat higher for those migrants who travel as Commonwealth nominees and who, on arrival, proceed to Governmentprovided accommodation in migrant centres and hostels which is available until such time as they are in a position to make their own private arrangements for accommodation. For the former, the average cost has been estimated to be £12, comprising £2 as the average expenditure on rail fares and £10 in respect of instruction in the English language for non-British adult migrants. For the latter, the average cost has been estimated at £81, being £71 in respect of fares and a per capita allocation of the operating cost of centres and hostels and £10 in regard to language instruction. Apart from expenditure on instruction in the English language, no direct costs are incurred by the Department in the settlement of migrants other than those introduced under the assisted passage schemes. Accordingly, the average cost incurred in settling migrants would, if spread over the total population gain from migration, be similarly reduced as in the case of passage costs.

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