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Migrants to call regional Australia home under Government's new population plan

12 October 2018

Mr. Tudge said placing conditions on visas that force immigrants to stay in less popular centers for several years would increase the likelihood that they would settle in those places permanently.

Sydney and its surrounds need to slash immigration by half to counter worsening congestion in Australia's most populous state, politicians said Wednesday.

"The fact is that 87 percent of all skilled migrants are going to Sydney and Melbourne, and almost all of the humanitarian intake", he said in his speech.

Berejiklian said a major drive to build new schools, hospitals and public transportation networks in Sydney had been unable to keep up with population growth.

Population Minister Alan Tudge has for months been investigating ways to take pressure off over-stretched roads and rail infrastructure by forcing new arrivals into smaller regions and towns.

The main driver of population growth in Sydney and Melbourne was overseas migration, with 87 percent of skilled migrants to Australia and nearly all refugees gravitating to those cities.

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Around two in every five Australians live in Sydney and Melbourne alone.

"We must ensure there is a thorough understanding of the key factors that drive population growth, before implementing policies that have the capacity to negatively impact jobs growth and the economy", Pearson said.

He added that some areas in rural Australia are often "crying out for more people".

"There was a step change increase in population growth from 2007 under the Rudd government, nearly entirely driven by lifting the immigration rate".

In case you are planning to move to Australia and have been dreaming of living in Sydney and strolling along the Bondi beach or visiting the numerous cafes and markets in Melbourne, this government proposal may just rain on your parade.

"This mismatch between projections and actual population growth has made it more challenging for governments at all levels to appropriately plan for, and invest early, in the essential infrastructure needed", Tudge said.

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A new $1 billion pool of federal money, which the government is calling a "congestion-busting fund", will be set up to fix local traffic "hotspots".

Critics such as former Australian Border Force chief Roman Quaedvlieg said requiring migrants to live in regional areas could be hard to enforce. The state capitals are among the fastest growing cities in the world.

Currently, about two-fifths of Australia's 25 million people live in Sydney and Melbourne.

He also said there will be more initiatives to support the growth of regional areas in Australia.

Read Alan Tudge's full speech here.

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Migrants to call regional Australia home under Government's new population plan