Population and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge has formally unveiled a Federal Government plan to force new migrants to spend as long as five years outside of Melbourne and Sydney, in a bid to kerb overdevelopment and congestion impacting Australia‘s major metropolitan centres.

Speaking to ABC Breakfast this morning, Tudge said the plan will better distribute Australia’s growing population, meaning states like South Australia and regional areas across the board will welcome more new arrivals.

The actual process of enforcing those visa restrictions remains nebulous.

“We haven’t outlined the exact details here yet,” Tudge said, “but it’s a relatively straightforward thing to be able to provide incentives for people to go to some of the regional areas or some of the smaller states.”

Tudge added that the plan may be bolstered by large-scale infrastructure spending to, you know, bolster areas in serious need of development. High-speed rail projects are on the table to make commuting from other centres a little easier, but it’s not exactly like Australia has a great history of implementing that kind of transportation system.

Australia’s population expanded by about 3.75 million people over the past decade, with migration playing a huge role.

The plan has received the backing of business lobbying groups like SA’s branch of the Urban Development Institute of Australia, but questions about different visa types remain.

Currently, about 30 percent of Australia’s migrant intake qualifies for family reunification visa provisions, and forcing new arrivals to spend time in regional areas while their families reside in major cities doesn’t seem ideal. At all.

Similarly, there’s the matter of employer-sponsored visas, which often necessitate a new migrant to settle in a major city. Tudge said “we don’t want to interfere with the employer-sponsored migration, because when a business can’t find an Australian to do the job, then we want to enable them to sponsor a person into the country.”

Still, watch this space.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald
Image: Joel Carrett / AAP Images