19 January 2009

ACF calls for Australian migration cut

The Australian Conservation Fund (ACF) has called for a cut in the Australian skilled migration quota in the 2009-10 Budget in order to protect the environment, reports ABC News.

The ACF submitted a Budget report to the Treasury this month that urged the Government to make a "substantial reduction" to the annual skilled migration quota.  The report argues that if Australian immigration were to continue at its record rates, Australia's population would triple by the end of the century, thereby placing great strain on the country's infrastructure, resources and environment.

By 2020, the Government is aiming to have reduced emission levels by 5 to 15 per cent, and by 60 per cent by 2050, yet ACF claims the growing population caused by migration would hamper efforts at achieving such goals.

"The projected population growth attributable in part to such high migration levels will make it increasingly difficult for Australia to meet sustainability goals," the submission says.

"For instance, part of the justification offered by the Government for a 5 to 15 per cent carbon target is the impact that rising population will have on our emissions profile."

Currently, the annual Australian immigration quota is sitting at 190,300 places for Australian visas, which is an increase of 37,500 places during the 2007-08 financial year.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, says his Government would evaluate the 2009-10 immigration quota after it has evaluated the extent of the financial slowdown.  However, he has indicated that the 133,500 skilled migration visas would remain a ceiling.

Senator Evans also insisted his Government would create a more targeted, holistic and future-planned immigration programme.

"To ensure that the migration program truly is in Australia's interest, a long-term population policy should be established which stabilises Australia's population in the long term at an ecologically sustainable level," the submission says.

"The policy should be formulated in light of the environmental impacts of increasing population and sustainable development, rather than the current focus on short-term industry and economic objectives."

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with emigrating to Australia.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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