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Regional communities step up to lead local migration efforts


The Rural Migration Initiative (RMI) took its first step forward today in Canberra, following a meeting of representatives from regions across Australia who are keen to tackle workforce shortages and population decline - through locally-led migration strategies.

The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) hosted today’s meeting that focussed on providing avenues of support for communities around rural Australia looking to welcome migrant workers and their families.

“Workforce shortages are hampering growth in rural Australia and undermining the future of our towns. Locally-led migration strategies have proven to be the best way to connect migrants to jobs and welcoming communities across rural Australia,” Mr Archer said.

Today’s meeting included representatives from regional communities, government, settlement services, community banking network, philanthropic organisations and migration agencies.

Local leaders and representatives from four areas came together to initiate the Rural Migration Initiative. They included:

  • Limestone Coast, South Australia

  • Great South Coast, Victoria

  • The Orana Region, Western NSW, and

  • The Bendigo Bank Community Bank network.

The RAI says this initial group is expected to expand over time, as other areas have expressed interest in developing their approaches to migration.

“We have been overwhelmed with the response from communities wanting to step up and solve their population and workforce challenges - while also welcoming new Australians to rural areas,” Mr Archer said.

With the government continuing to flag policy change to increase regional migration, Mr Archer said that locally-led strategies are the missing piece that will underpin success of new policy and an increase in permanent migration to rural areas in need of population growth and renewal.

About Locally Led Migration in Rural Australia

The Rural Migration Initiative is seeking to ‘scale up’ locally led migration strategies to the many rural and regional communities around Australia experiencing workforce shortages and population growth challenges.

The RAI has documented many inspiring examples of successful rural settlement initiatives, such as in Nhill, Dalwallinu, Pyramid Hill and Mingoola. In these communities, residents and business-owners have come together to identify labour needs and build local capacity to attract and retain overseas-born residents.

For more information please read the Missing Workers policy paper and community narratives available at http://www.regionalaustralia.org.au/home/the-missing-workers/

About the Regional Australia Institute

The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) is a think tank devoted to issues concerning regional Australia.

· We gather and analyse the best information we can find on regions and make this readily accessible to people around the country.

· We work with regional leaders around the nation to understand their challenges and help them identify opportunities for future development that they can implement.

· We talk to governments at all levels and provide independent, evidence based advice about the options they have to make regions even greater.

For more information on the RAI: www.regionalaustralia.org.au

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