The Federal Immigration Minister’s decision to continue to provide Adelaide with special migration status was an indulgence that was motivated by venal politics rather than economic need and common sense, Small Business Minister Margaret Quirk said today.
Ms Quirk said it was laughable to give Adelaide such an unfair advantage over Canberra and Perth.
“This windfall has resulted in Adelaide receiving four out of five of all Skilled Independent Regional visas approved in the last financial year,” she said.
The visa is now called a ‘Skilled Regional Sponsored Visa’ and allows skilled migrants to live and work in metropolitan Adelaide under a regional classification, while migrants in Western Australia have to live in regional areas for three years.
“This is blatant vote buying, the Federal Liberal Party needs to hold on to marginal seats in South Australia,” the Minister said.
“Adelaide’s population growth has increased to more than a million people and its economy has been boosted by a healthy mining industry, so why should it continue to receive such special treatment?
“There is a demand for skilled and business migration in all States, and the Federal Minister for Immigration Kevin Andrews is doing the nation a disservice by favouring one State over the others.”
Ms Quirk said WA would benefit greatly if Perth was classified as a regional centre for the purposes of skilled migration.
“The decision by Kevin Andrews to put Adelaide in the same category as Darwin and Hobart is more about politics than it is about skilled migration,” she said.
“If he was serious about creating a level playing field between States and Territories, then the regional status would be provided for Perth and Canberra, or it would be scrapped for Adelaide.
“If Canberra is going to justify migration policy on historical population trends - as opposed to future industry growth that benefits, then perhaps it should just use the AFL draft system as its model where teams that under-perform receive all the help.”
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