Opinion

Migrants’ contribution vital

by
April 19, 2018

Ethnic Council manager Chris Hazelman.

Recent Federal Government legislation and changes indicate the Coalition is making it more difficult for migrants to come to Australia.

It was reported in a recent News article that the government’s Assurance of Support had had sudden increases.

Previously, a single migrant sponsoring their family members to join them in Australia was required to prove they had an annual income of $45185. The figure was quietly raised last month by Social Services Minister Dan Tehan to $86606.

Ethnic Council of Shepparton manager Chris Hazelman spoke about the drastic impact these changes would have on the migrant community, rendering it virtually impossible for a low- to medium-income earner to sponsor family members.

Furthermore, The News reported about a bill that is currently before Federal Parliament which would see new migrants wait three years before they could access various government support payments.

These payments include family tax benefits, paid parental leave and the carer’s allowance.

Mr Hazelman also spoke out against the bill, and said the approach ignored the huge value of immigration to places like Shepparton.

Shepparton is well known for having a large migrant population.

From as early as the 1920s when Albanians converged on the Goulburn Valley, the area has been a destination for individuals and families making a new life for themselves abroad.

The News engages with a number of migrants on a regular basis, all of whom have contributed something to the community.

Whether it is fundraising, providing support, raising awareness or promoting social connectivity, there is seemingly no barriers for migrants when it comes to helping others.

It is clear they value their opportunities here in the Shepparton community and they work a lot harder for those opportunities.

But, in this area, migrants are not always high-income earners from Caucasian backgrounds and it seems as though the government would like this to be the demographic of migrants throughout the country.

In recent years, there has been much debate surrounding the economic benefit of migrant populations.

Recent research, published by Treasury and the Department of Home Affairs, revealed immigrants consumed less in government services than they paid in tax.

But the Treasury also came under fire from some population experts who believed it glossed over the link between migration and higher home prices, congestion, and strain on the environment.

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