Skip to main content
Home

Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1270 asked in the Legislative Council on 29 October 2019 by Hon Charles Smith

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

REGIONAL MIGRATION STATUS

1270. Hon CHARLES SMITH to the Leader of the House representing the Premier:

I refer to an article that appeared in The West Australian of 19 October entitled ''State government wants more migrants, students'', in which it was stated that the state government had completed a policy backflip by asking the commonwealth to reclassify Perth as a regional area so that foreign workers and foreign students with working rights can move here more easily.

(1) Why is the state government seeking to bring in more foreign workers and foreign students with working rights at a time when Western Australia has one of the worst labour underutilisation rates in the country and wage growth is stagnant?

(2) Does the state government concede that an increase in the number of foreign workers and students in a soft labour market will place further downward pressure on wages and intensify job competition for locals?

(3) Does the state government concede that an increase in the number of foreign workers and students will increase pressure on urban infrastructure, services and congestion?

(4) Does the state government admit that this policy backflip represents a broken election promise and a blatant betrayal of Western Australians who are seeking more and better-paid work?

Hon SUE ELLERY replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.

(1)–(4) The Premier rejects the premise of the question. Attracting more international students will diversify and grow the state's economy, which in turn will create employment opportunities for Western Australians. International education is a key contributor to the Western Australian economy, generating more than $1.9 billion in export income for the state in 2018. The international education sector alone supports approximately 14 600 full-time jobs in Western Australia—that is one full-time job created for every four international students. International students not only enrich our communities, but also attract thousands of visiting friends and relatives from overseas. For the year ending March 2019, Western Australia received 43 000 international visitors for education purposes, who spent $536 million. On average, these visitors spend more than seven times per trip more than other international holiday visitors.