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Regional development set-back with cuts to skilled migrants program

Feb 14, 2012

Dan van Holst Pellekaan MP

Shadow Minister for Regional Development
Shadow Minister for Sport & Recreation
Shadow Minister for Racing


Regional development set-back with cuts to skilled migrants program

Employers in regional South Australia no longer have support to access skilled migrants, following the Labor Government’s decision to cease funding to the Regional Migration and Workforce Development Program.

For many years this Program has encouraged skilled people and their families to move into regional communities, which has provided employees for vacant positions, opportunities for business development and new and increased community participation.

“This Program has allowed regional businesses, which have been unable to fill local positions, to source appropriately skilled employees from overseas,” Shadow Minister for Regional Development Dan van Holst Pellekaan said.

“As long as they pass health, security and other checks, bringing skilled migrants to regional South Australia significantly contributes to business and community development.

“By definition, skilled migrants are brought into regional South Australia for their skills.  They are not a source of cheap labour, as they earn the same wages that anyone else would, but they fill jobs which would remain vacant without them.

“As well as the ability to bring mechanics, nurses, chefs and many other tradespeople to our regions, opportunities for development in the aquaculture and horticulture industries require these skilled migrants.

“To be internationally competitive in these industries requires us to import some skills from overseas so that we can then export seafood, fruit and vegetables.

“This very small and short-sighted saving by the State Labor Government is another example of waste and mismanagement which will make our State a less productive and more expensive place to live.”

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