Key elements of the Australian Government’s plan to better manage the country’s future population growth came into effect at the start of this month.
Launched in March this year, the Population Plan has four broad components:
- Easing the population pressures on our big capitals and supporting the growth of smaller cities and regions.
- A massive boost in infrastructure.
- A better planning mechanism with the states and territories.
- Keeping Australia together by building safe and connected communities.
From 1st July, important elements to support the first and third components of the plan came into effect.
Firstly, the government is cutting the permanent migration program by a cumulative 120,000 places over four years. The new cap is 160,000 per annum, down from the cap of 190,000. The average intake over the last five years has been 183,000.
Within this 160,000 cap are 23,000 places for permanent residents who choose to reside outside the four big capitals. This comes into effect on 1st November 2019.
Secondly, the government is introducing strong incentives for new international students to choose locations outside of the big capital cities. International students are the largest component of the temporary migration program, with 80 per cent studying in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.
A new AUS$94 million scholarship program to study in the regions will also come into effect. Destination Australia will provide 4,720 scholarships.
Changes to the working holiday maker program also come into effect, including increases to the number of countries involved and places available, and allowing people who work in the regions to stay an extra year.
Thirdly, the National Faster Rail Agency begins operating from today. The new Agency will oversee the government’s 20-year fast rail agenda which will connect satellite regional cities to our big capitals. This will allow people to reside in regional centres with its cheaper housing and regional lifestyle but still access easily and daily the major employment centres. The first fast rail connection will be Melbourne-Geelong.
Finally, a new Centre for Population is also being established inside Treasury, providing detailed analysis and advice on population issues. $23.4 million has been provided to establish the Centre.
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the changes to migration settings will make a significant difference while supporting strong economic growth. “This is about encouraging more people out of our major cities and into our regions, helping regional communities to fill employment gaps and grow their economies,” he said.
“The four Designated Area Migration Agreements launching across Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia will help employers find the labour and skills they need.”
Article published 2nd July 2019