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Regional Victoria: a multicultural centre.

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The Hon. Tony Burke MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Regional Victoria - a multicultural centre

17 April 2008 DAFF08/042B

Victoria’s century-old status as a melting pot of cultures continues to grow as more immigrants establish their families in the state's regional centres, according to a new analysis.

The results are part of a national report 2008 Country Matters: Social Atlas of Rural and Regional Australia, released today by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke.

“The Atlas shows that new settlers continue to contribute to the growth of communities and the workforce in regional Victoria,” Mr Burke said.

“The number of immigrants settling in the state’s regional centres increased by 47 per cent between 2001 and 2006, compared with the previous five years.

“For some regional centres, the ratio of new settlers to the total population is high. For example, in Cobram, in northern Victoria, Iraqi refugees represent about 10 per cent of the total population.”

Today, one in four Victorians was born in another country.

“The Atlas also shows that housing in rural centres is more affordable than in urban centres, making it increasingly attractive to new arrivals to Australia.”

The Atlas also shows:

• Victoria had the highest percentage of 16-year-olds remaining in full-time education in regional centres, small towns and rural areas • communities remain heavily dependent on agriculture, including Loddon North in central Victoria (49.5 per cent of total employment) and Mildura (49.6 per cent) • areas of Victoria with the largest number of farmers included Corangamite, west of

Geelong (1249 farmers), Mildura (1193 farmers) and Gannawarra near Swan Hill (1138 farmers) • Greater Geelong had the highest levels of post-secondary school qualifications in Victoria - 58.2 per cent, compared with the Australian average of 52.5 per cent • areas with 100% retention of 16-year-olds in full-time education included Queenscliff,

Buloke and Loddon.

The Atlas describes the economic and social trends affecting the 7.5 million people living outside Australia’s capital cities, drawing primarily on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2006, 2001 and 1996 Population Census.

It is produced by the Bureau of Rural Sciences, within the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and is available online at

(The Atlas defines regional centres as 1000 to 100,000 people, small towns as 200 to 1000 people, and rural areas as fewer than 200 people.)