Andrew Wicks

About Andrew Wicks

Andrew Wicks is a country boy with a penchant for movies and sport. After a few years working in health, he decided he'd rather work with today's youth and studied arts and education in rural NSW. His main interests are religion, health and lairy shirts.

Pushing migrants to the country will not work – there’s nothing out there

That plan that push new migrants into the country instead Sydney and Melbourne will not work. I’m from the bush. The problems are worse out there.



This morning, the Morrison government has announced a plan that will see new migrants pushed to regional centres for “at least a few years”, instead of allowing them to settle in Sydney and Melbourne, in an effort to ease the population growth.

I’m from regional Australia, born and bred and infrequently return to, and the first thing that struck me, was haven’t these poor people suffered enough? The Australian Dream, pardon me if I’m wrong, is leaving the metropolis behind for a more relaxing idyllic country location, and then realising there’s nothing out there, and realising that you’ve made a horrible mistake.

Jokes aside, the plan is based on delusion, not logic. There are many ways in which to shoot plan down, but the idea that a brand new workforce will revamp dying country towns is complete fiction. Jobs in the country do not exist, unemployment is rampant, and if you want to secure any sort of life (outside of bagging your parent’s house when they shuffle off), you do what I did, and relocate to a metro centre.

For instance, the town of my birth was built on the bones a now-dead industry. Those left are either old enough to have worked in the aforesaid industry, or they’re the youth, yet to leave. In concert with the sex offenders in the jail on the hill, the entirety of the place is waiting out time. There’s nothing to do, but assemble for the meat raffle on Tuesday, and attempt to not get caught drunk driving afterwards. It’s a reduction, sure, but I know this general malaise is endemic in the country.

There’s nothing out there, not anymore. The lack of infrastructure is far more crippling in the rural satellites than it is in the city. Don’t get me wrong, it could work, providing there was something for them to go to. According to an analysis of job figures by Commsec, the Queensland and South Australian outback areas lead the nation in unemployment (12.8%, 7.4%). Sticking primarily to the regional areas of this state, the Murray (8.1%), the Southern Highlands (7.1%) and Grafton (8.7%) are present at the top of the pile.

To this point, Alan Tudge announced that some smaller states and regional areas were “crying out for more workers”, but only vaguely defined the borders of where exactly, stating “…there are regional areas and smaller states that want to grow more quickly, and it takes pressure off the bigger populations.”

I mean, not given the option, these people will do what we all do, and survive, but I feel it’s not a particularly good advert for Australia. My ancestors were fortunate enough to have migrated directly into the pristine beach views of Botany Bay, and they were in chains. I don’t want to evoke something as hokey as “the fair go”, but pushing new migrants to the dustiest corners to prove that they can hack it before we let them access Australia-proper, seems to fly in the face of that.

Especially considering that we’ve not had to pass the same test.


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