Water Week

EWN Publishing

Fed Govt ‘nonsensical’ migration policy ignores WA growth potential, favours SA instead, says WA Minister

Posted by waterweek on 12 October 2007

It was astounding that skilled migrants who arrived on a skilled regional sponsored visa were allowed to live in metropolitan Adelaide under a regional classification, but migrants in Western Australia, under the same scheme, had to live in regional areas for three years – in other words, they could not live in Perth, said Margaret Quirk, Labor’s Minister for Corrective Services, in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly (5/9/2007).

Special treatment for SA: “This decision astounded not only me, but also many industry groups, given the demands for skilled labour that we currently face in Western Australia. In a doorstop interview last month, Minister Andrews justified his decision on the following grounds: ‘Well South Australia’s been unique because it has got the old population, it’s had low fertility rates and if you look at the projection, if nothing is done about that you would see a dramatic decline in South Australia’s population after about the year 2030. Now you can’t wait until 2020 or 2030 to address that issue, you have to start addressing it now.’ Adelaide is not in need of special regional migration status treatment. Adelaide’s population has increased to more than a million people and its economy has been boosted by both mining and tourism, so why should it continue to receive such special treatment?

‘Nonsensical’ policy: “There is a demand for skilled and business migration in all states, and the Federal Minister does Australia a great disservice by favouring one state over others. Maybe it is because there are more marginal seats in South Australia. I think that members on both sides of the house would benefit from learning what the figures are. In 2006-07, this preferential migration status resulted in Adelaide receiving four out of five of all skilled independent regional visas approved across Australia. It would be very helpful if Canberra realised the magnitude of what is happening in Western Australia and stopped putting obstacles in our way that stifle economic growth. I know that all members will agree that this is very unfair treatment and it is nonsensical.

Ignoring WA potential: “Canberra’s migration policy ignores Western Australia’s great growth potential and the needs of industry in the future. My view is that Canberra has been using the Australian Football League draft system model to craft its migration policy, whereby underperforming teams get all the help,” Quirk added.

Reference: Margaret Mary Quirk, Member for Girrawheen, Minister for Corrective Services, Australian Labor Party, Legislative Assembly, Western Australia, 5 September 2007: on Skilled Migration Program

Erisk Net, 5/9/2007

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