Morrison's regional plan for new migrants

PLANS: Regional Australia has skill shortages and positions which cannot be filled locally: Deputy PM Michael McCormack says. Photo: FILE
PLANS: Regional Australia has skill shortages and positions which cannot be filled locally: Deputy PM Michael McCormack says. Photo: FILE

JOBS, services and infrastructure would need to be considered carefully before the region’s MPs would back a plan that would require some new immigrants to settle in regional areas.

The yet-to-be-released population policy by new Prime Minister Scott Morrison, would force some migrants to settle outside Sydney and Melbourne to help ease congestion in these cities.

Riverina MP and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said regional areas were “crying out for more people to be able to fill jobs”.

“Regional Australia has been built on hard work, resilience and community mindedness,” he said.

“An important part of this has been the hard work of families who have migrated to regional Australia for a new life.”

Calare MP Andrew Gee, however, said the proposal was yet to be discussed in The Nationals party room.

“More information is needed on what’s being considered and all regional MPs need to be consulted about it,” he said.

“The key issues which I’d need more information on are how many people would come, where they would go and whether there’s enough jobs, services and infrastructure to support them.”

Mr McCormack said with a new Cabinet and Prime Minister all options were on the table to improve existing immigration policies, including encouraging strategic targeted migration.

“We need to make sure our immigration system is working in the national interest. This can be achieved by connecting skilled workers to fill shortages in communities where they are needed,” he said.

“Migrants bring a willingness to work. They start small businesses and their contribution is highly valued in the communities they serve. 

“Regional Australia has skill shortages and positions which cannot be filled locally.”

Mr McCormack said that while migration which contributed to regional communities was needed to meet skill shortages, it was vital to ensure that there was adequate infrastructure and services to accommodate the growth in population.

Parkes MP Mark Coulton and Hume MP Angus Taylor did not respond to Fairfax Media’s request for comment.