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Minister opens population conference and launches new book



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The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone. (02) 6277 7860 Facsimile: (32) 6273 4144

MRS 16/99 MINISTER OPENS POPULATION CONFERENCE AND LAUNCHES NEW BOOK

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Mr Philip Ruddock today ■ opened a major seminar on population and immigration issues. ~

Mr Ruddock said the seminar built on his series of nation-wide launches last year in which he aimed to ensure people were aware of the facts regarding immigration, population and multicultural issues.

"Last year I went to every state and territory to ensure people had the facts about immigration so that they could make informed decisions and judgements about these important issues.

“This year I want to take that initiative one step further by providing people with the opportunity to have face to face contact with some of the experts in our community who are carrying out important research on the way our society will develop into the next millennium”.

Mr Ruddock said during the seminar papers are being presented by eminent academics on population options, the impact of immigration on the economy, immigration and the environment, family stream and business skills migration.

Presenters were Professor Peter McDonald, Research School of Social Sciences; Dr Barney Foran, CSIRO Wildlife and Ecology; Mr Chris Murphy, ECONTECH; Dr Bob Birrell, Monash University; and Mr Ewen Waterman, ACCESS Economics.

During the seminar the Minister will launch his Department’s publication Population Flows: Immigration Aspects. The publication shows, among other things, that:

. in the year ending 30 June 1997, Australia’s population had increased by 221, 500 people, or 1.2 per cent since the previous year . some 43.2 per cent of this growth was due to net overseas migration and 56.8 per cent was due to natural increase - births minus deaths; . over the last 20 years, natural increase has been the main contributor to

population growth; . natural increase has not varied greatly in absolute terms over the past 30 years (although it is projected to decline steadily over the next 30 years); . Australia’s fertility rate has declined steadily during the 1990s at a rate of around

0.02 children per woman per annum. In 1997, it fell to 1.775. . in 1997-98, Australia’s overseas migration gain was 79,162 - a fall of 17.4 per cent on the 1996-97 net migration gain of 95,800

Mr Ruddock said it was pleasing to see that those entering Australia under the migration program were becoming younger, better educated and more highly skilled.

"They will join the Australians of the future contributing to an outward looking nation confident of its place in the world."

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ENDS

Media inquiries: Brad Robinson 0419 278 715

Thursday, 4 February 1999