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Australia seeks to settle migrants outside major cities

36 Comments
By GREG WOOD

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As long as people have the constitutional right of freedom of movement, any effort is futile.

In Canada, Quebec makes investor immigrants sign a "declaration of intent" to live in the province although the vast majority violate it. They'd rather be with their own kind in Vancouver (most are mainland Chinese) than live with non-Chinese, like Quebeckers or even Canadians.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

There are no jobs in rural Australia unless you are a farmer, how is that going to work? They all go on welfare?

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

They will be forced labor on large farms.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

It was the case for decades, from the late 1940s to early 1970s, that migrants to Australia who arrived without first organising a job for themselves had to work for two years, on a contract, in work identified for them by the Government prior to their arrival. In those days that was usually factory or construction work or aide-type work in hospitals. After two years, depending on the circumstances, you could either continue in that job or were free to move on. There were also major infrastructure schemes such as the Government-initiated Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme, but they don't happen any more, and an industry such as mining is very much a boom and bust business. I suppose some variation on the two-year contract kind of idea might work, but it would depend on Government making much more of a commitment to being an employer, or at least subsidising employment, than they've been showing an appetite for over the past 20 years or so.

The problem is that most of the available work for migrants is in the cities rather than the regional areas. As for getting public servants to move from the city to the country, that hasn't had much success in the past. The most recent failure in that regard is the attempted move of the Pesticides Authority from Canberra to Armidale, one of our more attractive regional cities. A reasonably logical move, you might think, but the staff reacted with mass resignations, leaving remaining staff struggling with the workloads.

It's just a fact that most people like living in cities. That's the thing you have to overcome.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Does Australia not have a requirement for equal protection under the law?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

There are no jobs in rural Australia unless you are a farmer, how is that going to work? They all go on welfare?

That isn't exactly true.

Both agriculture and mining are important in regional areas, but like the rest of the country, most jobs are in service industries, public services and retail. There are some strong regional cities and towns that could cope and provide people with jobs but just like the cities, you are soon going to run into worries about the road network which is far less developed than city areas and doesn't get fixed, bus networks are poor and train networks are non existent.

I think you will run up against the same problems the cities suffer eventually but I guess that can't be avoided.

They'd rather be with their own kind in Vancouver (most are mainland Chinese) than live with non-Chinese, like Quebeckers or even Canadians.

Its the same in Australia. But isn't that generally the case with every ethnicity? We all gravitate to the culture we know best. To be honest, Indian immigrants fair better and are more likely to move to rural and regional areas.

I just don't see how they can police it properly. I guess it will depend if the immigrant relies on the Australian population in general for work, to rent new housing etc.

Immigrants with existing family ties in Australia will be able to dodge this system.

In saying all that something has to be done.

Paying tens of billions of dollars to tunnel a few kilometers of road across Sydney is dumb and inefficient.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

As long as people have the constitutional right of freedom of movement, any effort is futile.

There is no such thing in Australia.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If the problem is with the immigrants that come in and are subsidized by the government (through welfare programs etc), then that should be easy to enforce - since they still need to come into the Centrelink offices to collect their welfare payments. So just make it that they can only collect in their designated area.

If this is talking about working immigrants who pay tax, then i think they should be allowed to live where they need to be for work. As long as they are paying taxes!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@gogogo - There are no jobs in rural Australia unless you are a farmer, how is that going to work? They all go on welfare?

The vast majority of them are already on welfare, which is part of the problem. Many of them cannot speak English, which makes them virtually unemployable until they can communicate in English. This idea of settling them in semi-rural areas is a good idea, but only if they are given language training and skills acquisition during their time in the bush. Many immigrants have created huge problems in many cities. There are gangs of African youths and unemployable 20's running amuck in Melbourne. A couple of years in the bush would definitely sort them out.

The recent round of immigration is very different to previous mass-immigrations. The immigrants after WW2 and the following 20 years were put to work on public works projects building dams, roads, public housing etc. There were also over 5,000 Italian immigrants put to work on the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme. However, this is not the case at present. They are just put on the dole with no requirements to gain employment or to learn English and skills.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Does Australia not have a requirement for equal protection under the law?

Australia doesn't have enshrined rights. The Australian constitution doesn't have rights at all.

What we have we inherited from English common law, precedent built up over the years and high court decisions.

There is no Bill Of Rights in Australia.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There are no jobs in rural Australia unless you are a farmer, how is that going to work? They all go on welfare?

Not true. I've spent the last ten years in agribusiness/primary industry/mining and not as a miner or a farmer, but as an IT analyst.

While it may be true that these are... major industries out in regional Australia, there are still positions, especially supporting positions that are still equally important out there.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Both agriculture and mining are important in regional areas, but like the rest of the country, most jobs are in service industries, public services and retail. There are some strong regional cities and towns that could cope and provide people with jobs but just like the cities, you are soon going to run into worries about the road network which is far less developed than city areas and doesn't get fixed, bus networks are poor and train networks are non existent.

This is probably one of the biggest issues; if there was actually a decent transport system linking city to country, then I think that there would be less of an aversion to living in regional areas, unlike with Japan where it is, in my opinion much easier to move between regional and metropolitan areas.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

According to the 2016 cencus, the no. of people living in Australia who are born in China is 509,557 which is equal to 2.2% of the total population. For England it is 907,572 and 3.9%. We have more poms here than Chinese, mate.

True. And 80%+ of Australians come from European stock, mostly the U.K, Italy, Greece etc.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It's already been happening for years in some industries/sectors (healthcare) tbh. I know quite a few docs who were 'encouraged' to settle in regional Australia; some liked it, others didn't and moved to the city (or went back home) as soon as they could.

Am not against the idea but it's fair to say that rural Australia isn't for everyone (most westerners i know - euros, yanks, saffas- do not want to live in regional oz). Might be different for other ethnic groups although i doubt that cashed-up Chinese, HK and Taiwanese would consider moving to the bush after they've spent big $ studying in syd/melb/bris etc (en masse, i mean).

Oz has always been a very city-centric country (all about sydney & melbourne) and govts have been neglecting the country for years if not decades. Much more should have been done to increase the attractiveness and viability of smaller towns.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

> Australia doesn't have enshrined rights. The Australian constitution doesn't have rights at all.

What we have we inherited from English common law, precedent built up over the years and high court decisions. 

There is no Bill Of Rights in Australia.

Thanks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oz has always been a very city-centric country (all about sydney & melbourne) and govts have been neglecting the country for years if not decades. Much more should have been done to increase the attractiveness and viability of smaller towns.

Some cities, like Melbourne, were not very appealing until relatively recent times. When I lived in Melbourne a few years back a lot of people told me that the inner city was seen as a ghetto for years. Nobody wanted to live there.

There are regional cities and towns with 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 people that are doing pretty well.

I live in a regional city at the moment and it has exploded in the last 5 years as I have come back and forth.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Australia doesn't have enshrined rights. The Australian constitution doesn't have rights at all.

True. But remember it's not any one section of the constitution that's important, it's the vibe of the thing.

https://youtu.be/wJuXIq7OazQ

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are regional cities and towns with 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 people that are doing pretty well.

True, most of them are on the coast though and are, as you say, 'regional cities'. Can't compare life in Newcastle, Coffs, Port Mc, wollongong, hobart etc with life in Tamworth, Bourke or Griffith, to name a few. Would love to know what the govt meant by 'regional & rural areas'.

Again, am not bagging oz countryside, just saying life in the bush isn't for everyone (including aussies).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They should keep them on that island they have.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

@Tohka -  if there was actually a decent transport system linking city to country, then I think that there would be less of an aversion to living in regional areas, unlike with Japan where it is, in my opinion much easier to move between regional and metropolitan areas

How can you maje any comparisons between Australia and Japan when it comes to infrastructure? Australia is 30 times bigger than Japan, has one-sixth the population and nearly 80% of the land is arid or semi-arid making it uninhabitable except for sheep, cattle, camels and the odd stockman.

As for your comment: There is ample transport between rural and urban areas. The interstate bus network is extensive. The train lines connect the major cities with some connecting rural areas as well. It is quite clear you have never been to Australia and know very little about the infrastructure.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

What kind of Australia is it ? You conquered the land from natives, you killed people with resentments, now you divided humanity not only with races, colors, but also with "migrants", all under the name of "rule based" world.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Be interesting to see how migrants from Australia would feel about being forced to settle in the sticks here.

Especially Australian migrants used to the big cities.

This kind of displacement NIMBYism has been suggested before, in Stalin's Russia. A Jewish Autonomous Republic, some 5 thousand miles from the capital. In a region that was promised to be an agricultural paradise which turned out to be poor soil not suitable for farming.

It was not, as you can imagine, a success.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

They should keep them on that island they have.

1/10

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Dothehustle:

There is ample transport between rural and urban areas. The interstate bus network is extensive. The train lines connect the major cities with some connecting rural areas as well.

I'm genuinely curious as to where you live that you can make those comments. It's true that if you want to travel by train from Melbourne, where I live, to any of the major regional cities in Victoria, then you can manage it. Even then, the intrastate trains are always crowded at peak times. But the bus services beyond that, or trying to get anywhere without a train line and station? Infrequent services, laughable scheduling, and slow as hell. I've known, and still know, numerous people who live outside the big cities. Not one of them ever relied on publlc transport to get around - you have to have a car to make it workable. And between capital cities, it's the plane or very low-speed train. No Shinkansen or TGV.

How do you make all that attractive to potential regional-dwelling migrants?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's a country of immigrants they come they find their life in the city or out. Successful imergration is allowing these people to find there own path.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Australia has since seen had an influx of migrants from across the world since the arrival of European settlers in the 18th century, with nearly half of Australians either born overseas or at least one parent born abroad.

You see, these are the dirty tricks played by the media: conflating Australians, who were sent to Australia as undesirables of the empire, with refugees from the middle east. Two different groups, different context, different era. The goal is to blur the lines of separation, so that any Australians wise enough to object to their towns being overrun by refugees, can be immediately shamed, castigated, and reminded that their parents were also refugees--none of which could be further from the truth. Peace be upon Australians trying to hold on to their cities. Put these "migrants" in the remotest part of the country.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Without migrants, Australia wouldn't have crops or anything basically, land was barren in the past and hardly any vegetation, infrastructure was zero. Asians and Europeans brought agriculture, infrastructure, business rice etc etc. Anglos should be thankful. Japanese contributed a lot of investment to Minning in WA.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

It was a Penal Colony of the British.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Difficult to enforce, but perfectly reasonable as an aspiration.

Nobody has the right to move to another country. If you are allowed to enter another country that is a privilege. So if that country then asks you to abide by certain rules you either agree or don't go there in the first place.

The world is organised on the basis of separate nations, which exist for the benefit of their own people - not foreigners.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

That rural areas will be much better after 50 years with more spaces.

Living agricultural and hilly life are better for your health but for wealth, it's alright, so what's your preference first? Health or Weath? Personally i'd rather choose to live as farmer than working in urban city. That sweaty hard work feels so good with surrounding nature and sounds.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Australians wise enough to object to their towns being overrun by refugees, can be immediately shamed, 

No town in Australia is being overrun by refugees. Australia is not as like Germany. We accept far less refugees than some others countries.

Put these "migrants" in the remotest part of the country.

Typical xenophobia. Australia is not generous in acception migrants anymore. Therefore, these "migrants" are with skills Australia needs or cashed-up. By the way, England is still among the top 5 countries where migrants are from. I wonder if they will be happy if you force them to live in the remotest part of the country.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Be interesting to see how migrants from Australia would feel about being forced to settle in the sticks here.

Especially Australian migrants used to the big cities.

This kind of displacement NIMBYism has been suggested before, in Stalin's Russia. A Jewish Autonomous Republic, some 5 thousand miles from the capital. In a region that was promised to be an agricultural paradise which turned out to be poor soil not suitable for farming.

It was not, as you can imagine, a success.

As others have stated. This idea is nothing new in the history of the country. Legally, there is nothing that prevents it but enforcing it is a different matter. Australia is not Stalinist Russia. If you come to Australia as an immigrant, you come on the governments terms. The same as if you were an immigrant to Japan.

Without migrants, Australia wouldn't have crops or anything basically, land was barren in the past and hardly any vegetation, infrastructure was zero. Asians and Europeans brought agriculture, infrastructure, business rice etc etc. Anglos should be thankful. Japanese contributed a lot of investment to Minning in WA.

Australia is a country of migrants. I mean if you go back far enough, every country on the planet is a country of migrants. A lot of groups have made contributions to what Australia is today, but by far and away the largest contribution has come from Anglo's of British stock. No surprise since they make up the bulk of the population, then and now.

There is ample transport between rural and urban areas. The interstate bus network is extensive. The train lines connect the major cities with some connecting rural areas as well. It is quite clear you have never been to Australia and know very little about the infrastructure.

The bus network is slow and patchy. The train network is not at all extensive. Take NSW. You have trains that run from Sydney to Dubbo that I could literally walk faster than. How many times a day does it run? And it covers a very, very limited number of regional western NSW towns. The same applies to the northern line. Incredibly slow. There are places where the train has to stop because its only one line lol. Its pathetic. I have travelled both central western NSW line and the northern line many times.

That's really the problem - a) a lot of towns simply aren't on the path and b) its incredibly slow.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Typical xenophobia. Australia is not generous in acception migrants anymore.

LOL. What an absolute load of twaddle. Australia is one of the most generous countries in the world when it comes to migrant intake. It is double what it was not so long ago and many want it cut to what it was.

Tell me, how many migrants does Japan take per year? 10?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As for your comment: There is ample transport between rural and urban areas. The interstate bus network is extensive. The train lines connect the major cities with some connecting rural areas as well. It is quite clear you have never been to Australia and know very little about the infrastructure.

Such a cute response.

I’m an Australian citizen who’s worked here for the last 20 years, and the last 10 spent within the mining and agricultural sectors.

The only thing which is “quite clear” is your being ill-informed, to your credit though your “attempt” did give all of my work team a good laugh as they head out to the more distant sites today in rural NSW, QLD and VIC.

We’re still looking for that “quite extensive public transport network” that you speak of.

Please, enlighten us.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There is no public transport from rural areas to urban areas.... none what-so-ever. Trains only run a few directions and if you are not near one there is no public transport to it. The best case would be telecommuting assuming there was internet in that area.... just look how patchy internet is in Australia:

https://www.nbnco.com.au/residential/learn/rollout-map.html

Now talk to me about how are these people going to earn a living or get a job?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There seems to be a common agreement that the biggest infrastructure issue we face is a really slow, unextensive rail network.

Infrastructure Australia have a fast rail plan (not very fast) which would link a very solid number of east coast regional cities with the capitals, including some presently covered and a lot that aren't using a rail network achieving speeds around that high 200kmH range. They have said that the bullet trains from both Japan and China trains would probably not be suitable and I think they are looking at German technology.

The planned networked is well mapped out. Its really just a matter of $ and manpower.

https://infrastructure.gov.au/rail/publications/high-speed-rail-study-reports/

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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