Sustainable population plan backed

THE Liberal National Party announcement on its plans in relation to sustainable population growth was welcomed by LNP endorsed candidate for Flynn Ken O'Dowd.

The LNP says it proposes to take real action on sustainable population growth and ensure regional Australia benefits from a targeted skill migration and regional settlement program.

The party proposes to take action on immigration and reduce Australia's annual rate of population growth from more than 2 per cent under Labor, to be within the “sustainable long-run average of 1.4 per cent” within its first term.

Mr O'Dowd said the failure of the Rudd-Gillard government's immigration policies had seen net migration numbers rise to 300,000 per year, against a long-run average of around 140,000 per year, putting greater strain on Australia's resources and driving up the cost of living.

“Labor will continue to pile on the pressure by refusing to rein in population growth. Without real action, continued escalation of our population at current growth rates will only compound these problems,” Mr O'Dowd said.

“The long-term answer to a sustainable population lies in investing in our capacity for growth and improving the dispersal of our population to regional and underpopulated areas that could benefit from higher levels of growth.” Mr O'Dowd said LNP would address the skill needs of regional areas and small business by encouraging the settlement of new arrivals in regional and rural areas.

He said two-thirds of the LNP's permanent migration program would be for the purposes of skilled migration, ensuring high skilled visas were maintained and vital services such as those delivered by doctors and health professionals from overseas continued to be available across regional Australia.

He said LNP would also make temporary business visas more accessible to business in regional areas with proven skills shortage needs.

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