07 February 2005

Australia’s competitive edge

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Australia’s cultural diversity is a significant business advantage when trading in the competitive global market, the Australian Government Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Peter McGauran, said today.

‘Australia is made up of people from more than 200 countries, creating a society with diverse social, economic and cultural abilities,’ Minister McGauran said.


‘We speak over 200 languages with 43 percent of the population being born overseas or having a parent born overseas.


‘By capitalising on migrants’ language skills, business networks and experience, Australian export companies can improve their knowledge of overseas markets and gain a competitive edge,’ said Minister McGauran.


‘Australia has an extremely sophisticated points and skills assessment programme in place for perspective migrants,’ said Chris Crook, Manager, Case Work Department, Visa Bureau. ‘This morning the British home secretary even announced changes to the UK system based on the Australian point style method of evaluating potential migrants.’


‘Australia has been particularly successful in attracting, assessing and accepting a migrant mix that works for the country. They are able to adjust their skills list and place new immigrants in areas that may be under serviced.’


Minister McGauran was speaking at a three day international conference in Canberra on global and local trends in cultural diversity and sustainable development - Transformations: Culture and the Environment in Human Development.


Minister McGauran said the conference would provide an important opportunity to build networks domestically and internationally.


‘Australia has an opportunity to use its diversity to a positive advantage. As new global markets emerge, cultural diversity will become even more important in international trade.


‘These business opportunities are not restricted to Australia’s major cities. New arrivals from different cultural backgrounds also help to develop new, competitive and sustainable businesses in rural and regional Australia,’ Minister McGauran said.


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