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Minister in Cairns for immigration consultations.

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Media Release

Philip Ruddock MP

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation



Minister in Cairns for 

immigration consultations

MPS 39/99

The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affa irs, Philip Ruddock, today encouraged northern Queensland to make greater use of mechanisms designed to attract more skilled migrants to rural Australia, such as the Skill Matching Database.

In Cairns today as part of national consultations on Australia's 1999-2000 migration program, Mr Ruddock said programs such as the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) had the potential to help meet demand for qualified professionals outside of metropolitan areas.

"The RSMS enables Australian employers in regional areas to fill skilled permanent vacancies with overseas personnel if they cannot find suitably qualified workers in Australia.

"From today, the Cape York and Peninsula Development Association will also have access to the Department's Skill Matching Database, which will help employers in the region to identify prospective migrants who have specialist skills.

"Our records show that there are a number of areas where employers are unable to fill professional positions in this region. Programs such as the RSMS can help meet that demand."

Mr Ruddock said these initiatives were having a significant impact in the State, with the number of migrants coming to Queensland under the Skill Stream increasing by more than 13 per cent in 1997-98 over the previous year.

"The 1997-98 Settler Arrivals statistical report shows that 3,578 people migrated to the state through the Skill Stream last year, up from 3,155 in 1996-97.

"In total, some 15,095 migrants settled in Queensland in 1997-98 compared to 14,640 the previous year.

"Queensland figures reflect the emphasis that the Government has placed on attracting skilled migrants, and our determination to deliver a balanced program."

Mr Ruddock said during this year's consultations on the migration program he will meet with a wide cross-section of individuals and organisations including representatives of business, economic, industry, union, environment, welfare, planning, refugee, humanitarian and ethnic community groups.

"This is the first time that a nation-wide round of public meetings has been held on the migration program.

"I trust this will provide a unique opportunity for many Australians to contribute their thoughts, ideas and comments on the size and composition of Australia's immigration program."

Consultations and public meetings are also being held in Melbourne, Griffith, Sydney, Albury-Wodonga, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and Darwin Launceston and Hobart.

Thursday, 4 March 1999 

Media inquiries: Brad Robinson 0419 278 715