Sky News Live AM Agenda - with Kieran Gilbert and Laura Jayes

Kieran Gilbert: Let’s go live now to the Minister for Cities and Population, of Infrastructure as well, Alan Tudge. Minister, thanks so much for your time. On the issue of these migration plans that the states are going to put to you, do you recognise that particularly, the smaller states, the business community, they want you to keep immigration levels where they are?

Alan Tudge: If anything, actually, they want us to grow and lift the population into a state like South Australia, where I am today, and the Premier here has been very open about that.

So, part of our plan is to support the growth aspirations of those smaller states and those smaller cities who want to grow their population faster while at the same time just easing the pressure off a little bit off Melbourne and Sydney, particularly, who are really struggling at the moment and feeling the congestion pressures.

Laura Jayes: So what do you expect the outcome today to be, Alan Tudge? Will you come away with some formality in terms of numbers?

Alan Tudge: No. Today is step one in the process of where we’re trying to have a new mechanism for population planning to get the right numbers of people to the right places.

Step two is when the states and territories will bring plans back to us by the end of January; and then step three is when we’ll put that together and announce our overall population plan in probably about March.

Kieran Gilbert: That’s important, though, isn’t it? That the decision still be made at the national level, of course, so there is- so it’s coherent across the country?

Alan Tudge: Yeah, of course. So at the end of the day, the migration settings will be determined by us, but what we have signalled is we want these settings to be much more informed from the bottom up because every region of Australia is quite different and has different pressures upon them; and this is sometimes not understood by residents of Melbourne and Sydney who—many of whom are sort of saying that we’re feeling the congestion pressures ease up a little bit.

In other parts of the country, they want more people in South Australia and the Northern Territory and Western Australia and elsewhere. Even in regional Australia, there are 46,000 job vacancies today, in regional Australia, and that’s 18 per cent higher than two years ago. So how do we support filling those jobs in regional Australia?

How do we support the growth aspirations of places like South Australia and yet, at the same time, ease the pressure on Melbourne and Sydney, which are really feeling it at the moment? That’s where we want to end up and I think we’ve got the plans and have outlined the principles in order to get there.

Laura Jayes: Alan Tudge, thanks so much for your time today. We’ll speak to you at some stage post this COAG meeting. Appreciate it.

Alan Tudge: Thanks very much, Laura.