Regional Migration Toolkit – Coming soon!
For almost a decade, communities around the country have been actively encouraging migrants to move to their towns to help alleviate workforce shortages and population decline.
Towns like Nhill and Pyramid Hill in Victoria are now well known for their efforts in welcoming new migrants and retaining them – with no formal guidance on how to make settlement ‘happen’.
Others like Dalwallinu in Western Australia have increased their population by up to 15 percent by introducing their own Regional Migration Strategies.
Earlier this year, the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) released its policy paper, The Missing Workers, proposing a range of actions to encourage settlement of migrants across regional Australia. The paper was developed after much consultation with communities across the country – finding out what had worked and where the challenges were.
Now, with the generous support of the Scanlon Foundation, the RAI’s CEO Jack Archer is pleased to announce that a toolkit has been developed to help steer regional communities in the right direction when they’re looking at their own locally-led regional migration strategies.
“We know across Australia, communities such as Kalgoorlie, the Orana region in central west NSW, Hamilton, Warrnambool, Leeton, Walla Walla (insert towns), are all working towards this goal,” Mr Archer said.
The toolkit, Steps to Settlement Success, has been developed by Emmanuel Musoni. Following his work with Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development (GLAPDInt) to settle families from refugee communities into small country towns – and a refugee himself – Mr Musoni used his experience and vast range of contacts to bring the toolkit to life.
“This toolkit was made possible by the efforts of a range of stakeholders who have sacrificed their time and resources for the development and repopulation of regional Australia,” Emmanuel Musoni said.
“If given the choice, more and more migrants would prefer to live in regional and rural areas of Australia. With greater facilitation of relocation to regional areas, and active community welcoming, more migrants will come to call regional Australia home.
“I have been contacted by many communities willing to welcome families, as well as many families willing to relocate to the country from all capital cities of Australia – currently more than 200 families,” Mr Musoni said.
By combining interview findings with key learnings from past regional migration approaches both in Australia and overseas, this toolkit identifies best practice and outlines key players and areas for action underpinning regional settlement success.
Key players identified in the toolkit include government (federal, state and local), local businesses, local volunteers, community champions, steering committees, migrant and settlement service organisations and most importantly, migrants themselves.
In a simple seven-point plan, Steps to Settlement Success guides communities on what to do, what to avoid and what to be mindful of. These steps include:
- Initiating a settlement strategy;
- Organising the local community;
- Welcoming and hosting new migrants;
- Securing employment for new migrants;
- Securing housing for new migrants;
- Fostering community cohesion; and
- Considering culture, customs and environment.
Mr Archer said the toolkit will better place communities to engage in locally-led settlement strategies and realise the benefits that migrants bring to regional and rural Australia, and vice versa.
There is no doubt that migrants who are moving to regional areas are looking to take up some of the 47,000 jobs currently available, as well as to access cheaper housing.
However, many migrants moving to rural Australia also have ambitions of growing crops and keeping animals. It’s a large part of why cities aren’t their ultimate settlement location.
“Australia’s experience also shows that the decision of migrants to remain in regional areas ultimately depends on whether the community is welcoming and ready to embrace newcomers,” Mr Archer concluded.
Steps to Settlement Success will be publicly launched in early in 2019 and will be available on the RAI website www.regionalaustralia.org.au
Meanwhile, through the Regional Australia Institute’s Regional Research Connections Initiative, Southern Cross University (SCU) has recently completed a study of migrant business ownership and entrepreneurship in regional Australia.
Please click here for the full report, Evidence of Migrant Business Ownership and Entrepreneurship in Regions, now available on our website.
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