Increase rural migration: think tank
Migration could be the solution to arresting rural population decline and workforce shortages, according to the Regional Australia Institute.
The regional think tank released a new policy paper last week calling on the Federal Government to adopt a new policy facilitating the establishment of a network of priority rural migration areas. RAI chief executive Jack Archer said regional migration projects scattered across Australia were seeing some towns increasing population by up to 15 per cent.
“A new national policy could enable many rural communities to meet their local labour market needs and provide support for local growth and community renewal,” he said. “We also have identified some changes to government policy that should be considered to help make it easier for rural employers to employ migrant staff.
“These policy changes could be achieved at low cost to governments and we know philanthropic investment may also be an option for other resources needed.”
Mr Archer said an extra 2000 to 3000 migrants a year would halt population decline in most rural areas.
The policy paper addresses the resources required for regional assessments, support for new arrivals, employment tools, as well as a toolkit to help communities successfully welcome new migrants into their towns.