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Monday, 17 September 1973
Page: 1042

Mr OLLEY (HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES) - 'Does the Minister for Immigration have any proposals to divert from capital cities some of the flow of migrants which for many years has been directed mainly to the inner city areas of Sydney and Melbourne? In view of the problems of overcrowding in those areas will the Minister agree to take the pressure off them and to assist the country areas?

Mr GRASSBY - We have been concerned that there has been an over-concentration of new arrivals particularly in Sydney and Melbourne and in the inner city areas. It certainly is not our intention in the future to pour in an unplanned way people into inner city areas which are already overcrowded. I have already had some discussions through the Commonwealth Immigration Advisory Council with Mr L. J. Mooney who is the President of the Australian Council of Local Government Association and through him and with his co-operation the Association is at the present time carrying out a survey of all local government bodies with a view to ascertaining what their needs are, what their desires are and how we can help in the supply of migrants or, if you like, the diversion of settlers from these inner city areas. We have also been looking at a new initiative. It would be a new initiative for us but it has been for some time practised in the United States. This new initiative involves providing facilities for representatives of individual communities in the countryside to go to areas where there is perhaps a chain migration already in being, to invite people to join them specifically in those areas, in those districts, in those towns or, if you like, in those valleys. The important thing here would be to extend a direct hand to people overseas from one community to another, from one group to another or from one location to another rather than just to invite people into the whole of the continent and hope to goodness they will find a place. I think it is an initiative we could well follow up. I assure the honourable member for Hume that if he has centres which are interested we will be delighted to hear from them,

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