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Demise of migrant bond plan highlights the media for a serious approach

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41, 4),, Wrirea Ate Duncan Kerr MHR

Shadow Minister for Population issues Shadow Minister for Immigration

and AssiTtant to the Leader of tne Ooposrtion

on Multicultural Affairs

Federal Member for Denison

11 •1111

13 March 1997

188 Collins St. Hobart 7000 Ph (031 5234 5255 Fax (03)8223 8560

GPO Box 32A Hobart Tas. 7001


The fact that the Federal Government's ill-advised migrant bond plan has failed should not stop us aiming to attract new migrants and business entrepreneurs to regional and rural Australia.

But it does again highlight the need for long term strategic and economic plans, not just half baked attempts.

The migrant bond plan's demise, which would have seen independent skilled migrants post a $30 000 bond and stay in regional areas for at least two years, confirms a clear message to the Federal Government.

That is, that the stick approach will not work.

The Government has spent the past twelve months busily tearing the heart out of regional and rural Australia, cutting programs and services, closing regional offices and shedding thousands of jobs.

While the razor gang was cutting through those areas, the Minister for Immigration, Philip Ruddock, was spending tax payers' money on a task force to examine the viability of the scheme to bond migrants to areas outside Melbourne and Sydney.

The task force has now advised that the scheme is =workable.

My response to the Minister's announcement in July last year was that the objective of the plan had merit, but the Government's slash and burn rampage was hound to make it unworkable. ..12

Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone 1061 277 2178

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It should have been obvious to blind Freddie that short of having internal visas or passports, or building another dingo fence,policing such an exercise was impossible.

The only way people will stay long term in regional and rural areas is if they are given sound economic reasons to do so.

Media Contact: George Haddad: (03) 62345255 or 0419 009 214