RDAMR MediaRelease

In our region, Murray Bridge’s population growth is outpacing the rest of South Australia, with inbound migration playing a key role.

For Murray Valley Standard

October, 2018

 

By Jo Podoliak

Chief Executive Officer

Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland (RDAMR)

 

In our region, Murray Bridge’s population growth is outpacing the rest of South Australia, with inbound migration playing a key role.

New figures show almost a third of local government areas have seen a population decrease, all of which are in regional or remote South Australia. However, our long-standing history of opening our doors to migrants has helped one area in our region achieve strong population growth.

Despite this, unprecedented business growth has led to a lack of available workforce and we expect this trend to continue.

More than $800 million in capital investment by business and industry is planned for our local area, which will see the creation of a significant number of jobs.

Our food, wine and tourism industries are booming. We’re feeding and entertaining the world.

However, we don’t have a large enough workforce that is ready, willing and able to meet this business growth and the increased demand for our goods and services.

A strong local workforce is important, and we need to attract and retain skilled migrants to have a successful business future and meet the unmet demand for labour.

Our team at Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland (RDAMR) is advocating for changes to make it easier for business and industry to access skilled migrants, to help improve the region’s social and economic prosperity.

Extensive research has shown that migrants bring much needed skills to reduce labour shortages in regional areas.

The Federation of Ethnic Communities Council notes that the multicultural composition of a community can be its primary strength. Their skills are needed, work ethic noted, and they provide a significant contribution to the region.

With appropriate reform, immigration policy can help to stabilise population loss. A strong population is key to maintaining high-quality services and infrastructure.

Approximately 200 overseas-born Murray Bridge residents became Australian citizens last year in Murray Bridge alone, with many more across the Murraylands. Together they contribute to our diverse culture by living and working in the region.

Migrant workers are a proud part of my own family’s history, with my father and his family arriving here ready to work some 60 years ago.

Our region is currently home to a higher percentage of people born overseas than at any time in its history.

In 2006, approximately 10% of Murray Bridge’s population, or 1803 residents, were born overseas. Just a decade later this figure has grown to nearly 15%, or 3066 residents.

The number of Filipino immigrants to the region has more than tripled since 2011, while the number of arrivals from Taiwan and Vietnam has more than doubled, according to population experts ID. Filipino and Taiwanese cultures are more prominent in Murray Bridge than anywhere else in the state.

Among a number of initiatives RDAMR is implementing or support to help facilitate inbound migration, we have committed to showcasing the region at Immigration SA “Welcome to SA” information sessions.

These sessions provide information to newly-arrived state sponsored migrants who may be interested in settling in the region. Agricultural and regional jobs may be a good fit for some migrants noting their country of ancestry and past work history may be based in agriculture sector.

Based on the regions track record of success we know that skilled migrants are an integral part of creating and maintaining a vibrant community.

Business and the community have shown they’re accepting of inbound migration, however more can still be done.

RDAMR is working closely with Local, State and Federal Government to make a concerted effort to help facilitate further inbound migration, to help our region and businesses prosper.

For more information about the benefits of inbound migration or for support accessing skilled workers, contact RDAMR on (08) 8535 7170 or visit our team at 137 Adelaide Road.

For further information please contact:

Jo Podoliak, Chief Executive, Murraylands Office – (08) 8535 7170  jpodoliak@rdamr.com.au

Donna Beech, Marketing & Communications, Riverland Office – (08) 8580 8500  dbeech@rdamr.com.au

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