Record intake Good for Nation: Evans
THE Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, defended the Government’s record high immigration intake yesterday, saying migrants often have better job outcomes than Australians, buy property and have a positive impact on the economy.
The 2008-09 program of 190,300 migrants – with 133,500 places for permanent skilled migrants – has come under fire from the Opposition for putting unnecessary strain on Australia’s infrastructure in the face of the global economic crisis. Sharman Stone, the Opposition’s spokeswoman on immigration, called for a 25 per cent cut to immigration, back to 2005-06 levels.
-Unemployment is beginning to rise [â€¦] there are real issues with housing congestion and growing community concern about the road ahead. This isn’t the time to peak immigration targets, Dr Stone said.
Senator Evans acknowledged that the program may be adjusted when mid-year economic figures come out next month.
-What we know is most migrants have better job outcomes than Australians locally. We know that they consume, they buy property and they’re a net positive to the budget, he told Channel Nine. -It’s easy to call for a slowdown in migration [but] there are actually very strong positive economic impacts that come from migration, particularly if you are bringing in skills that allow you to build the economy. And a lot of the skills that are coming in at the moment are in the mining sector, which has allowed us to increase our exports.
He said the Government expected unemployment to be slightly higher than predicted in the budget. -We’ve got a skills crisis at the moment. Clearly if the demand for labour comes off, you’d adjust the migration program accordingly.
The Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner, also signalled the Government was considering cutting immigration. -We’re obviously monitoring the immigration numbers need very closely, Mr Tanner told Channel Ten’s Meet The Press.
He said migration had been increased because of the skills shortage -but when the circumstances change, you have to revise your settings.