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Unemployment forces another small reduction in migration program: but Government leaves program unfocussed



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,0 2:( / 05 ' 97 WED 14 : 33 FAX 444 BEAZLEY RIO 0 2

1116 44 -4, 4=0.111- Duncan Kerr MHK

Shadow Minister for Population Issues

Shadow Minister for Immigration

and Assistant to the Leader of the Opp3sition

on Multicultural Affairs

Federal Member for Denison

11 ••••

188 Collins St Hobart 7000

Ph (03)6234 5255 Fax (03) 6223 8560

GPO Box 32A Hobart Tas. 7001

Unemploymentforcesanother small reduction in migration

ro ram - but Government merit unfoc ussed

The abysmal failure of the Government to find answers for rising unemployment makes the small reduction in the size of the migration program announced today entirely predictable.

However, while the government admits this, the composition of its own program will only add to the unemployment woes.

It has again failed to tie the skilled component to Australian labour market needs. By keeping the 15,000 place Independent category at the same increased level as last year, the Government has ignored the advice of its own Lin committee and instead stayed with an unfocussed and untargeted category.

Many of those who will come under this category will not be filling skills shortages, but taking much-needed lower skilled jobs or displacing Australians already in those skilled jobs.

The other victims of this failure by the Government will be Australian families who will suffer as a result of the effective end of the family reunion stream for aged parents announced today — a drop from 6000 to 1000 places — which makes it

virtually impossible for Australians to bring out their parents.

The backtlip on commitment to families conflicts with the Coalition's explicit pre-election pledge, as well as last year's statement on the program, and the undertakings given to the Senate.

The Opposition, however, welcomes the recognition of the skills brought to Australia by Concessional Family entrants by including them in the skilled stream. .../2

Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone (06) 277 2178

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We will, however, be watching carefully to ensure that proper recognition is given to the advantage that new arrivals with pre-existing community links have in their ability to settle in this country more quickly.

The Government would not have been able to claim credit for shifting the proportion between family and skill categories, had the Concessional Family category been previously and correctly recognised as part of the skill stream.

The 50 per cent skill proportion claimed by the Government is substantially a product of shifting the 8000 Concessional Family allocation into the skill component of the program.

The Refugee and Humanitarian Program has effectively been cut from 13,000 offshore to 10,000 offshore.

The inclusion in the Program total of the 2000 onshore allocation is a smokes and mirrors exercise to try to disguise the magnitude of the cut.

In the past the onshore numbers, boat people and the like, were demand-driven and not projected in the program.

It is deceitful of the Government to claim that it is maintaining Australia's International commitment. What It is maintaining is last year's cut.

Media contact; George Haddad 0419 009 214.

* The program announced by Mr Ruddock today remains in the band of the average of the three years of the previous Keating Government, and remains higher than the lowest year of that period.