The Settlement Council of Australia endorses the work of the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) to explore regional settlement and promote a national policy that better facilitates rural and regional settlement of migrants, including refugees. We were proud to represent the settlement sector at a national roundtable hosted by RAI at Old Parliament House on 1 November 2017 and had been eagerly awaiting the release of RAI’s report “The Missing Workers”, which was launched at Parliament House on 22 May 2018.
We welcome this Report and the policy implications it makes, and suggest that this represents a practical and positive way that Australia can support migrants who have the potential to reinvigorate our rural and regional communities. As set out in our recent media release, SCoA believes that migrants present a great opportunity for regional Australia and benefit is to be had by all if a proper system of supported settlement in regional locations is established.
Here is what RAI had to say about their report:
In 151 regional Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the country, the numbers of overseas-born residents are increasing, while the number of Australian-born residents is decreasing.
Population loss means there are still labour shortages in rural Australia. This loss requires new strategies to enable migration to better meet local labour needs.
One way to tackle this issue is through locally-led migration strategies. Support for these projects across rural Australia is key to future population and economic growth in small towns.
Supported by literature and analysis from the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), this policy paper is based on discussions between regional settlement representatives at Migration Nation, a RAI roundtable event held at Old Parliament House on 1 November 2017 as well as consultations with governments and community groups.
In addition to the Report, RAI have released a series of Community Narratives that demonstrate just how well locally-led community support for migrants is already working across the country. These well-researched narratives provide ample inspiration for others interested in harnessing the power of migration.
We congratulate RAI on this work as well as the various individuals, NGOs and government agencies that supported it.