MEDIA RELEASE: Skilled migrant visa changes must reflect state differences

MEDIA RELEASE

23 April 2019

Regional communities outside Sydney and Melbourne will be hardest hit by unintended consequences of the proposed changes to migration policy – announced by both major parties – and exemptions for smaller states will be needed, the Committee for Adelaide says.

Both a cut in skilled migrant minimum wages, announced by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten today, and a proposal to cap the migrant intake, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison last month, would be to the detriment of Adelaide.

“National migration changes need to work for all states and we need to make sure that the system doesn’t become unworkable,” Committee for Adelaide Chief Executive Officer Jodie van Deventer said.

Under the Labor proposal, skilled migrant minimum wages would rise from $53,900 to $65,000 a year. ABS data (November 2018, seasonally adjusted) showed that in South Australia workers earned on average $56,000 a year compared with $66,000 in New South Wales, $62,000 in Victoria and $76,000 in the Australian Capital Territory.

“While we support high wage growth, regional communities also need to be catered for in a national system,” Ms Jodie van Deventer said.

“It may make sense to raise the minimum wage in larger cities but such changes will make it even more difficult for regional communities to attract the people they need.”.

Likewise, the Liberal proposal to cap the migrant intake from 190,000 to 160,000 would reduce the pool of migrants for regional areas.

“Cities such as Sydney and Melbourne are struggling to keep up with population growth while regional areas and smaller capital cities need more people. We need both parties to commit to a system that supports population distribution across the country,” she said.

Ms van Deventer said that while the Committee for Adelaide supported strong measures to ensure local wages and conditions were not undermined, there were other ways of achieving this.

DETAILS: Jodie van Deventer, Chief Executive Officer, Committee for Adelaide on 0427 408 588.