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Tuesday, 3 March 1970

Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) (Minister Assisting the Treasurer) - According to my recollection, the number of British settlers who will arrive in Australia this year under the United Kingdom-Australia assisted migration programme is at least 68,000, which is slightly fewer than the 73,000 for the previous year. However, this figure should certainly be assessed against results over a wider period of time as there have been considerable fluctuations in the intake of assisted British settlers over the past decade. The right honourable gentleman queried the reason why there has been a fluctuation during the present period. This, of course, is a most complex situation which does not lend itself to simple elaboration, but if one assumes that the pull factors, that is, the conditions in Australia, have remained constant, some of the factors which have influenced British thinking in relation to the downturn would be marginal improvement in economic conditions in Great Britain, the prospects of Britain's entry .into the European Economic Community, a very good summer in Britain in 1969 and the difficulties which many British people who wish to come to this country are experiencing in selling homes quickly. Certainly the Government is concerned at any diminution in the assisted migration programme from Great Britain because British migration has been, and we would wish it to continue to be, the cornerstone of our immigration programme. I can assure the right honourable gentleman and the House that we are most vigorously prosecuting our migration programme in the United Kingdom to ensure a greater flow of British settlers to this country. We need more British settlers, and as an indication of the positive steps which have been taken I would instance these facts: In the first place, the number of regional offices has been expanded over the years. There are now seven regional offices and my understanding is that a further office will shortly be opened; in the second place, our administrative machinery in London has been kept under constant review. I point also to the fact that there has been a major uplift in our expenditure on funds on television advertising and general printing in Britain, and that we are providing additional resources, by way of counselling, to professional workers and single men and women. So in summary I say to the right honourable gentleman and to the House that we are determined that migration from the United Kingdom should continue to be the cornerstone of our total immigration programme and that steps are being taken to realise this objective.

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