We don’t want half mea­sures

Gatton Star - - YOUR SAY - Do­minic El­some do­minic.el­[email protected]­ton­star.com.au

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.

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