The federal government is working on ways to disperse more of the country’s population into regional areas and Tasmania looks set to be a beneficiary.
Population Minister Alan Tudge, in a speech at the Menzies Research Centre in Melbourne on Tuesday, said the state’s main capital cities were getting more congested and the main contributor was net overseas migration, adding 87 per cent of all skilled migrants were going to Sydney and Melbourne.
He said meanwhile, regional areas could not get people to do the work available.
“We want to have a more even distribution,” Mr Tudge said.
”Matching the skills of new migrants with the skill shortages in rural and regional Australia will be key to the success of this approach.”
He said the government was working on measures, which would put new arrivals in the smaller states and regions for at least a few years.
“In that time, the evidence suggests that many will make it their home for the long term,” Mr Tudge said.
Tasmanian Liberal senator Jonathan Duniam said a population policy to tackle growth needed to be well-planned with input from the communities involved.
“It is incumbent upon the state government to get moving on ensuring adequate services are in place before we welcome any new growth in population so we don’t see an excessive increase in our class sizes in our schools, any extra burden on our health system, and extra congestion on our roads,” he said.
Migrant Resource Centre Northern Tasmanian chief executive officer Ella Dixon said settlement in regional areas for humanitarian arrivals was ideal. She said integration into a community tended to be easier when the population was smaller.
In addition, services were not overcrowded and education was easier to access, Ms Dixon said. “Regional populations are generally more welcoming,” she said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, on the weekend, said he had been in discussions with Premier Will Hodgman on a migration plan.