SA Liberals want more migrants

The South Australian opposition has pledged to promote the state as an attractive migration destination in countries where it has strong cultural and family connections.


Opposition Leader Steven Marshall says the Liberals want to kick-start population growth and will ask the federal government to give SA preferential migration status if the party wins the March state election.

He says a Liberal government would introduce policies to convince more young people to stay and to attract more people from other regions of Australia and from overseas.

Among those will be an increase in funding to multicultural groups who help settle migrants into local communities.

“What we know is if we’re going to grow our economy and if we’re going to grow our jobs, we have got to grow our population,” Mr Marshall told reporters on Wednesday.

“If you look at all the writing on this issue, what is says is that population growth actually creates jobs. It doesn’t take jobs, it creates jobs.”

Mr Marshall has also committed a Liberal government to cutting waiting times for visas and to working with the business sector to identify skill shortages which can be filled by employer-sponsored migrants.

“Boosting our population boosts our state’s productivity and that’s why we need to encourage more people to live, study and work in our great state.”

Premier Jay Weatherill said while everyone supported population growth, the Liberal strategy missed the point.

“Population growth doesn’t automatically equal economic growth,” he said.

“The timing of it, where it goes, is a question of judgment.

“My priority is to grow the prosperity of the existing South Australian community.”

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