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$5b: How massive migration boost could benefit regional QLD


From no English to proud local: Refugee repays his community

Pauline Hanson does not want migrants coming to our region

UP TO $5 billion would be injected into the national economy if more refugees were settled in regional Queensland, new research revealed.

Migration experts say this economic boom would help tackle problems of unemployment in regional Australia by sustaining thousands of jobs outside capital cities.

A report from Deloitte Access Economics, commissioned by humanitarian group Oxfam Australia, found increasing migration numbers to 44,000 over a five-year period would add $5 billion a year to the nation's GDP.

The report noted economic activity would take years to grow but would ultimately support 35,000 jobs annually.

Multicultural Australia CEO Kerrin Benson said many regional cities were struggling to get workers and had the appropriate medical facilities for them, which justified the move into areas across Queensland.

"I think now there's widespread acceptance that we are a multicultural nation," Ms Benson said.

"There's no doubt more people make a significant contribution to the economy."

Jock Collins, Professor of Social Economics at UTS Business School, says settling migrants into regional Australia would help fill critical labour shortages in professional markets.

But to avoid the move backfiring, the right government infrastructure and investment must be in place.

"Skilled and professional areas, health, IT, these areas are often difficult to fill in regional Australia and skilled immigrants can fill that," Prof Collins said.

"(But) you can't just bring migrants into an area without doing the legwork of establishing the services they need ... it's got to come with infrastructure investment.

"Whether it's public service employment, encouraging more private sector employment in those areas ... you need programs to assist migrants and refugees to form businesses in those areas.

"That may be a local council getting together and providing shopfronts at low rents, it's better to have a thriving business because of migrants than empty shopfronts."

Recently released research commissioned by not-for-profit group Multicultural Australia found Queensland attitudes towards migrants were more positive than is portrayed politically.

A survey of more than 500 Queenslanders by Essential Research found 73 per cent said accepting people of different cultures was part of being Australian and 56 per cent agreed Queensland had benefited from migrants moving into the state.