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Regional South Australia a multicultural hub.

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Regional South Australia a Multicultural Hub

VPS 015/2004

From Whyalla to the Barossa, Loxton and Mount Gambier, more and more migrants are choosing to settle and stay in regional South Australia.

But we need to do more and the initiatives I announced today with the Acting Prime Minister, John Anderson, will help to attract more migrants and refugees to Australia's regional areas.

At the last Census, some 4,810 people who were born overseas were living in Whyalla, of whom a majority was born in England and Scotland.

In the Barossa, some 2,150 people were born overseas. Of these, the top two birthplaces were England and Germany.

In Loxton, some 900 people were born overseas, of whom a majority was born in England and India.

And in Mount Gambier, some 2,230 people were born overseas. The top birthplace was England, followed by Italy and New Zealand.

In 2002-2003, some 1,300 visas were granted to people under State-specific and regional migration initiatives for South Australia.

This is an increase of approximately 90 percent over the 2001-02 financial year. It is also some 17 percent of the 8,000 people who were planning to settle in regional Australia in 2002-2003.

Since 1997-98 some 5,500 visas have been granted to people who were planning to settle in South Australia under the various regional migration programs.

Visa grants for regional areas are steadily increasing, but more can be done to assist regional Australia to get the people they want and this is what the measures being announced today aim to do.

From 1 July, qualified people who want to come to Australia as skilled migrants will be able to obtain a three-year temporary residence visa if they commit to living and working in regional Australia. After two years they will be able to apply for permanent residency.

There is also a new visa for self-funded independent retirees to encourage them to settle in regional areas.

Under this visa, participating state and territory governments will be able to sponsor self-funded retirees settling in regional Australia.

Self-funded retirees provide an opportunity for Australia to benefit both from their capital investment and the money they spend while in Australia.

12 January 2004