We don’t want half measures
LAST week the Morrison Government announced a plan that would see migrants from the skilled and family streams settled in regional areas for up to five years to ease congestion in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne.
Curiously, our Prime Minister was less keen on the idea when he was in opposition and Labor had proposed a similar plan – a change of heart perhaps?
Despite it being heralded as a solution for the cities the plan could also be a much-needed boost for regional economies.
However, any increase in population in regional areas would need to be coupled with increased infrastructure spending, both to provide the services needed to support migrants and to create the jobs they would require.
A plan like this would need major funding and would be a risk for any government – committing funding to the regions with no apparent benefit for voter-rich metropolitan areas – but if done correctly, could provide a much needed jump start to regional economies.
It remains to be seen whether adequate funding will be included with the government’s most recent brain wave.
With a potentially disastrous election looming it seems unlikely – regions don’t have the same bang-for-funding-buck compared to cities in politicians’ eyes, whether they be in government or opposition.
So, it looks like what could have truly been a nation-building policy is likely to fade away with the many other half-measures that have littered federal politics over recent years – a shame really.