The federal government says other states should follow Queensland’s lead and look at how they can better manage their population to drive growth.
The federal government says other states should follow Queensland and look at using immigrants and refugees to drive regional growth.
Premier Campbell Newman has been in talks with federal Immigration Minister Scott Morrison about ways to boost the regions and ease population pressures in the southeast.
Under the proposal, immigrants and refugees willing to spend a few years in regional parts of Queensland could have their visas fast-tracked.
The federal government says its own policies to develop northern Australia could benefit from Queensland’s plan.
“The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will make themselves available to work through any proposal the Queensland government wishes to put forward,” a spokesperson for Mr Morrison has told AAP.
“The same offer is open to every other state and territory to make constructive suggestions based on their own population policies.”
The Abbott government has set up a special committee to drive the development of northern Australia, chaired by far north Queensland MP Warren Entsch.
It is focused on what infrastructure is needed to encourage economic and population growth in the region.
But Monash University population expert Dr Bob Birrell says he doesn’t think Mr Newman’s plan will work.
“I’ve seen these plans repeatedly over the past 30 or 40 years and they’ve never worked,” he told the ABC.
“And that’s obvious when you look at the distribution of overseas-born persons in Australia – 90 per cent of all persons born overseas, particularly from Asian countries, are located in the metropolitan areas of Australia.”