RAI welcomes new way forward for regional population
The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) has welcomed the core elements of the Federal Government’s Population Policy that will bring benefits to many of the 9 million people living in regional Australia.
RAI co-CEO Dr Kim Houghton says the focus on regional migration helps to address the issue of job shortages in many areas, with more than 42,000 vacancies across regional Australia.
“Lifting the number of regional visas to 23,000 will make it easier for migrants looking for work to move to regional areas, and we welcome the Government’s changes announced by the Prime Minister,” Dr Houghton said.
“While we know migrants want to move to regional Australia and many communities want to welcome them, the next stage is making sure they stay,” Dr Houghton said.
Research shows that for permanent migrants who arrived between 2006-2011 and who settled outside the big four cities, 84 percent were still living there five years later in 2016.
The RAI has undertaken extensive research about the social and economic benefits of regional migration and has worked with many regional leaders and communities who have already undertaken their own “locally-led” migration strategies, such as Nhill, Pyramid Hill, Mingoola, Dalwallinu and Rupanyup.
“Our work in 2016 – The Missing Migrants- exposed an untapped opportunity for regional areas to fight declining populations and economic adversity. Back then, we said it was a regional solution that could also reduce congestion and employment issues in our major cities,” Dr Houghton said.
Earlier this month, the RAI released its National Population Plan for Regional Australia, where again one of the key factors was removing barriers for secondary migration.
“On the whole, we know people are choosing a life in regional Australia with more than 400,000 moving away from our capital cities from 2011-2016,” Dr Houghton said.
Regional population will be a key topic at the RAI’s Regions Rising National Summit in Canberra on 4-5 April.
“We look forward to hearing from the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Michael McCormack, when he delivers the keynote address at our national summit, where he will outline his vision for regional Australia,” Dr Houghton said.
A copy of the RAI’s National Population Plan for Regional Australia can be found here.
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