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Tuesday, 9 April 1957

Mr TOWNLEY (DENISON, TASMANIA) (Minister for Immigration) - The number of immigrants brought into Australia since 1945 is, roughly, 1,150,000. Of these, 550,000 have been British nationals. As to the honorable member's second question, regarding the increase in the proportion, it is a bit early to give an answer, but there is every indication that the numbers will increase this year. As I have told the House previously, the chief limiting factor is the provision of shipping for the purpose of bringing the immigrants to Australia. Recently, we have been negotiating for the use of another vessel, and we feel that our negotiations will be successful. If so, we shall have another ship to bring British people to this country, and that will, of course, increase the intake of British immigrants. At this stage I would say that there is a great possibility of a significant increase in the number of British immigrants this year. The honorable member's next question had regard to the number of British immigrants going to different countries in the British Commonwealth. Australia has, for some time past, attracted far more immigrants than Canada; in fact, it has attracted more immigrants than Canada and New Zealand put together. As to the honorable member's final question, for every 100 immigrants who come to Australia, 86 dependants also come to this country. For every 100 of natural population increase in Australia there are 424 dependants. Of the immigrants, 52 per cent, are workers, whilst only 41 per cent, of the Australian population are workers. Skilled workers among the immigrants are in the proportion of 21 per cent., compared with 16 per cent, in the Australian population.

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