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Minister asks for written submissions on 1998-99 migration and humanitarian programs

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M e d i a R e l e a s e

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MR Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone: (02) 6277 7860 Facsimile: (02) 6273 4144


All Australians can play an important role in consultations on the 1998-99 Migration and Humanitarian Programs by providing written submissions, the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock said today.

"The Government has a commitment to consult widely on the size and composition of the immigration intake and to administer immigration policy in an open and publicly- accountable manner," Mr Ruddock said.

"It is important for Australians to be able to openly debate the size and composition of our immigration intake and written submissions provide another opportunity for the public to contribute to the discussion on immigration policy.”

"The Government is determined to maintain public confidence in the immigration program and involving people in the discussions is part of that process."

Consultations provide an important opportunity to review the nature of the Migration and Humanitarian Programs and to ensure they remained responsive to Australia's needs and interests in a rapidly changing world.

“This Government has recognised the economic importance of skilled migration and has boosted the Skill stream of the Migration Program while reducing overall program numbers," Mr Ruddock said.

“My Department is also reviewing the points test used to select Independent and Skilled-Australian Linked migrants and arrangements for the entry of parents and other aged relatives.”

"While it is important to review the Migration and Humanitarian Programs on an annual basis, Australia’s non-discriminatory policy is not negotiable."

“Written submissions should focus on the size and composition of the Programs, the level under the various categories, the operation of the migration categories and settlement issues including humanitarian settlement,” Mr Ruddock said.

The request for submissions will be advertised widely in the press. The closing date for written submissions is 13 February 1998. Face-to-face discussions with interested individuals and organisations, who have already made substantial submissions, will also take place in February and March.

The 1997-98 Migration Program was set at 68,000 places, while the Humanitarian Program had a planning level of 12,000 places.

9 January 1998

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Steve Ingram 02 6277 7860.