The Australian government is considering introducing new measures to encourage migrants to resettle in regional cities and rural towns, in an effort to ease the housing affordability crisis in major cities such as Melbourne and Sydney.
In comments published in Monday’s newspapers, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton described solving the housing affordability as a “whole of government effort”, and said Australia’s generous migration intake, which is up to 190,000 people every year, needed to remain in the national interest. In the 12 months financial year ending in March, house prices rose by 19 percent in Sydney and 16 percent in Melbourne, and the government is looking into ways it can ease the housing affordability crisis by encouraging migrants to settle in smaller cities in regional areas.
“There are ways we are looking at that we might be able to provide support to people to choose a regional city, for example, if they can find work there,” Dutton said in comments in Fairfax Newspapers. “If we can encourage more of that people moving away from capital cities then I think that’s something we can embrace.”
Dutton said the plan was more complex than just shunting recent migrants into regional areas saying the cost of living and housing was lower, while it provided an opportunity for migrants to assimilate into smaller communities and embrace the Australian lifestyle.
“The argument is how can we marry them up with regional communities where there is a supply of work, where there is the ability to send kids to school? Living in regional towns is a great way to raise a family, a great way to be involved more intimately in the life of that community,” Dutton said. “And housing and the cost of living otherwise has the potential to be much cheaper than living in a capital city,” he added.