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Tuesday, 25 September 1973
Page: 1414

Mr GARRICK (BATMAN, VICTORIA) - Has the Minister for Immigration seen statements in the Victorian metropolitan and provincial newspapers indicating that the State Government is planning to recruit building workers, particularly for country areas? Is this being done outside the announced program or is it being done in co-operation with the Australian Government?

Mr GRASSBY - I have not had any direct discussions with the Victorian Minister of Immigration or his officers since the meeting of the State Ministers some time ago. AH the State Ministers for Immigration will be meeting in Adelaide on 9 November and any of the matters that call for co-operation will be dealt with there. I have seen some statements which indicate a totally unreal attitude to migration at the present time. I saw one particular headline in a journal in Victoria which said: 'Migrants wanted. Let's go and get them.' This betrays a completely unreal attitude both towards the people who desire to come here and to their response to that sort of recruitment approach. I want to make it very plain and I stress again that what we must do at all times is to invite people to join us - not to be the shock troops in this or that operation, but to invite people to join us as permanent settlers and members of the family of the nation.

If anyone has knowledge of some secret source of supply of skilled building workers we would be delighted to know about it because these people are in short supply in practically every country. We would certainly not be in a position to outbid other people and this is not our intention. We extend an invitation to people to join us for very many reasons and not just for short term advantage. I have made it very plain that it is our intention to give priority to decentralised development, to the growth centres and to country development generally to take the pressure off the inner city areas. We will continue to do that. Certainly where co-operation is needed we will be giving it. As far as the program is concerned, the movement of people that is desired by the States or by local authorities will be carried out in co-operation within the program and not outside it.

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