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Boosting regional settlement of migrants and refugees in Australia: policy initiatives and challenges

  • Year: 2011
  • Author: Brian Galligan; Martina Boese; Melissa Phillips; Annika Kearton
  • Journal Name: Australian Political Science Association Conference
  • Country: Australia

Settling migrants and refugees in regional Australia has become a major policy purpose for Australian governments, both Commonwealth and state. Policies to attract migrants and humanitarian settlers to regional areas have been in place since the 1990s and are currently being refined and extended. Regional settlement serves a range of complimentary purposes: relieving pressure on metropolitan gateway cities, especially Sydney and Melbourne, where most migrants and refugees have settled in the post-war decades; and addressing regional problems of population decline and skills shortages. Regional settlement is a major part of the current Australian Labor governments sustainable population strategy championed in the 2010 election when migration and settlement became contentious issues, especially in Western Sydney electorates where large numbers of migrants have settled. Retaining office as a minority government dependent on the support of a few independents, Labor has adopted sustainability as the catchcry of its population policy.

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