LGA highlights need for population growth
The LGA will call for a renewed focus on migration and population growth at its Annual Conference, being held at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre today.
LGA President Dave Burgess said as the closest government to communities, councils understood addressing population growth was the key to revitalising the State’s economy.
“The LGA highlighted the need for a State Population Policy as part of its 2016/17 State Budget Submission, and since then the issue has been on the agenda at the Premier’s State/Local Government Forum meetings,” Mayor Burgess said.
“The State Government’s announcement in August to downgrade population targets in the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide was concerning.
“The position of the State Government is that they are comfortable with current migration targets in light of unemployment rates and the auto industry shutdown.
“However, we believe more people means more jobs – and new jobs – in construction, retail, hospitality, teaching, and nursing.
“We know that our State, and its cities and towns aren’t full, and by increasing our intake of migrants we can drive South Australia’s economic recovery, and secure the future of our regions.”
Since 1970, South Australia’s population has grown by only 40%, compared to 60% in Victoria and New South Wales, 131% in Western Australia, and 151% in Queensland.
Mayor Burgess said while migration is a Federal responsibility, with states receiving a quota of the overall intake based on their population size, local government still had options and a role to play.
“One option is for councils to work with the State Government to provide housing and settlement options for people accepted through the Coalition Government’s increased humanitarian intake program,” Mayor Burgess said.
“This would involve our communities playing a larger role in the resettlement of 12,000 largely Syrian refugees, making better use of their local infrastructure while also contributing to Australia’s aid efforts.
“Another option for councils and communities is the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa, which was designed to encourage asylum seekers who have arrived by boat to work or study in certain parts of regional Australia.
“It’s been successfully adopted in Victoria and Tasmania, with Queensland and the ACT soon to follow, and it’s something which we should be looking at in consultation with our communities here in South Australia.”