Data shows Government is backing regional Australia

Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government Mark Coulton has welcomed new data showing the Liberal and National Government's migration program is benefiting regional areas and helping to secure their economic future.

Minister Coulton said a 44 per cent increase in regional migrant placements under the Regional Sponsored Migration Program complemented a number of other initiatives aimed squarely at backing the regions while taking population pressure off the nation's largest cities.

“In addition to redirecting migrant flows to regional areas crying out for population growth, the Government's decentralisation agenda is supporting strong and vibrant regional economies through the creation of local jobs, economic diversification and regional growth,” Minister Coulton said.

“Since 2013, the Government has announced more than 1,700 new and relocated government jobs from Canberra, inner Sydney and inner Melbourne. More than 1,000 of these jobs are located in regional Australia, to areas like Coffs Harbour, Mildura and Toowoomba.

“The Government continues to actively monitor opportunities to relocate high-quality, appropriate public sector jobs to regional Australia.”

Minister Coulton said the Liberal and National Government was also focussed on addressing the impacts of increasing congestion in cities and supporting growth in smaller cities and the regions.

“The Government's Planning for Australia's Future Population plan outlines how we are easing pressure on the big capitals while encouraging the growth of smaller cities and regions,” he said.

“The plan encourages increased regional settlement by reducing the permanent migration program from 190,000 to 160,000—something confirmed in data released yesterday—and introduces two new regional visas, totalling 23,000 places.

“It also speeds up the process for regional employers to benefit from these visas by helping to get new migrants settled in communities and engaged in jobs sooner.”

The Liberal and National Government is also expanding the use of Designated Area Migration Agreements (DAMA).

“These five-year agreements allow employers in designated regions, such as the one in Dubbo in my electorate, to sponsor skilled workers for occupations not available under standard visa arrangements,” he said.

“This comprehensive suite of policies is already helping regional areas secure their economic future and regional Australians can look forward to more benefits through our continued investment in changes the migration program, decentralisation and infrastructure.”