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Media Release: Migrants and refugees on the outer in Australia’s cities

22 August 20130 comments

Refugees and asylum seekers are not ‘swamping’ Australia, according to the latest State of Australian Cities report.

The report, released by the federal government this week showed refugees and asylum seekers are a tiny fraction of the 30 million international border crossings in and out of Australia each year.

Bridging visa holders made up just 5.8% of temporary entrants into Australia in 2012, according to the State of Australian Cities 2013 report, released byInfrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese.

The report also showed that numbers of entrants on bridging visas had decreased by 8 per cent on the previous year. The report said international patterns of people movement were changing rapidly and more short-term visitors were leaving Australia than were arriving.

“Contrary to the prevailing view held of the Australian resident population, short-term resident departures have continued to exceed short-term visitor arrivals since the year ended June 2008,” the report said.

The report, produced by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, found large discrepancies in the opportunities, infrastructure and facilities available to people within Australia’s cities, with those living on the outer fringes missing out.

Minister Albanese referred to “vastly different areas of opportunity, education and income levels, industry structures and travel and workforce patterns”.

The report also found skilled migrants outside the city centres were often working in industries that do not fully utilise their skills.

AMES Chief Executive Officer Cath Scarth said that the report put into perspective asylum seeker arrivals as a small proportion of the overall number of arrivals to Australia.

She said migrants, refugees and asylum seekers were often at the bottom of the pile when it came to access to opportunity, infrastructure and services. “New arrivals to Australia are congregating in these urban fringe areas simply because that is where they can find affordable housing,” Ms Scarth said.

“The report’s findings show that living in these areas means you have less access to opportunity and infrastructure. There are fewer job opportunities and limited public transport services in many of these places,” she said.

“All this means that the challenges people face when they are trying to settle into Australia are even greater,” Ms Scarth said.

Ms Scarth said the report also highlighted the positive impact migration has had and is having on Australia’s development. The report said: “people movement… is fundamental to Australia’s global cities. It feeds off and feeds into their development, at once contributing to their local character and also defining them as global”.

“We have known for a long time that migration is a key driver of economic growth in Australia and we are all now enjoying the significant cultural benefits it has brought,” Ms Scarth said.

For images, interviews and more information please contact AMES Media Advisor, Laurie Nowell at or  9938 4031 or 0498 196 500.