Discussions about levels of immigration following ABC TV’s Four Corners and Q&A last night are essential in an inclusive and democratic country like Australia, however we do not want to compromise our successful multicultural cohesion by focusing only on impacts to planning and infrastructure, according to Violet Roumeliotis, CEO of Settlement Services International (SSI).
Ms Roumeliotis acknowledged there were planning pressures in any big city but “we must remember that migrants come to Australia with high levels of social and economic capital and a strong willingness to contribute and, further, have shaped modern Australia since World War II.”
She said, “SSI agrees with the 2016 Productivity Commission Inquiry’s recommendations that the Australian government:
- develop and articulate a population policy, and calibrate the size of the annual migrant intake according to that population policy
- in determining the migration intake, give greater consideration to planning and investment in infrastructure.”
Ms Roumeliotis said, “Planning of population levels and infrastructure should involve all levels of government and other stakeholders, including industry and employer bodies, education and training providers, other service providers, academia, planners and representatives of relevant migrant and other community groups.”
SSI is an organisation set up and managed by a diversity of Australians and delivering many services to people, including refugees and migrants, experiencing a vulnerability in their lives.
For SSI, the benefits of immigration are clear, Ms Roumeliotis said. “The Productivity Commission has calculated that our migration intake will increase Australia’s GDP by 7% by 2060, compared to if we had zero net migration.
“Australia’s migration levels prevented our economy going into a technical recession after the World Financial Crisis.”
Ms Roumeliotis said, “The Australian population has consistently supported national policies on migration and a multicultural society, as they have seen and felt the benefits to themselves and our nation.”