Australian bush Mount Lonarch
Image credit: Bill Roberts/Unsplash

Last week, The Australian reported on the Morrison government’s “new” plan to require some migrants to settle in regional Australia. The Oz found this story spicy enough to splash across its front page last Wednesday. But for all the news value of this announcement, it may as well have read “Scientist discovers bread”. 

This was noted in classic “presented without comment” style by Daily Telegraph editor Christopher Dore, who tweeted his paper’s front page from May, with wry use of the auspol hashtag. 

How many times can the government announce the same policy of encouraging new arrivals to go bush? A lot of times, as it turns out. Crikey has a quick look back at a quite old policy that has somehow managed to remain a front-page headline for years.

May 2018

Migrant support groups say it would be deeply unfair to force some new arrivals to stay in regional and rural areas.

Yesterday it was revealed that the Turnbull Government was contemplating changes to regional skilled visas, which would bind migrants to rural areas for a set period of time.


March, 2017 

Migrants will be redirected out of Sydney and into regional areas under a Turnbull government plan to help ease the capital’s house price crisis.

The Daily Telegraph

January 2017

The Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, has offered support for the rollout of more refugee programs in regional areas.

Mr Joyce wants the refugee resettlement model trialled in northern New South Wales to be replicated in other country towns.


January 2014

IMMIGRANTS and refugees wanting to call Queensland home will be required to live in regional cities and towns to alleviate future growing pains in the southeast corner.
The Courier-Mail can reveal the Newman and Abbott governments have begun initial discussions about developing a quota system aimed at funnelling new arrivals into cities such as Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton to promote growth.

The Courier-Mail

You get the idea. There’s been a program — the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme — in place since the mid-1990s. As noted on the Parliament website

The Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) is a key component of the push to attract migrants to regional areas. Introduced in 1995–96, it enables employers in a designated RSMS area to nominate temporary residents already in Australia or applicants from overseas, to fill skilled vacancies for a minimum of two years. Successful nominees who are prepared to settle in these regions are able to apply to migrate permanently to Australia.