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Tuesday, 8 May 1973
Page: 1751

Mr SNEDDEN - I ask the Minister for Immigration whether he has had any discussions with the Minister for Urban and Regional Development about the shortages of building tradesmen such as painters, carpenters, tilers, builders labourers and planners. Has he had any discussion with the Minister about amending the way in which migrants are selected to come to Australia, that is, has he discussed whether the Government will recommence recruiting migrants to Australia according to their skills for work in the work force and not rely solely upon family reunions to answer the need of Australia's development and the shortage of workers in, for instance, the important building industry?

Mr GRASSBY - The position in regard to the migration target, or the level of migration, for each year is exactly the same as it was when the Leader of the Opposition was Minister for Immigration. The whole of the associated problems of determining the target are examined by the Commonwealth Immigration Planning Council.

Mr Chipp - That is not the question. Have you discussed it with your colleague?

Mr GRASSBY - As I was saying, the level of migration is a matter for recommendation by the Immigration Planning Council. At present the Immigration Planning Council is considering all of the factors to be taken into account in determining the level of the intake for next year. The Leader of the Opposition referred to shortages of skilled tradesmen. This matter will also be dealt with by the Immigration Planning Council. The Council brings in the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Labour, representatives of industry, the trade union movement and all of the relevancies in this situation. The Leader of the Opposition referred to the Minister for Urban and Regional Development. I hope that the Prime Minister will approve of that Department at its most senior level joining the Immigration Planning Council so that the needs of decentralisation will be considered particularly by the Government in the migration program.

Mr Whitlam - I approve now.

Mr GRASSBY - I am pleased to have the Prime Minister's public approval. It will save the red tape of letters. I thank the Prime Minister. This means that in future the Immigration Planning Council will have a representative at the most senior level, I repeat, from the Department of Urban and Regional Development. All of the matters raised by the Leader of the Opposition will be considered together.

Mr Snedden - The Minister for Urban and Regional Development has raised them. Have you had discussions with him?

Mr GRASSBY - We have had discussions about migration and we will continue to have them. In relation to the supplementary question asked by the Leader of the Opposition, I am delighted to have discussions with all of my colleagues on the migration program. Indeed, I do so with great regularity and will continue to have those discussions.

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