The cities and towns that are welcoming of diversity will be the successful places of the future, according to Mr. Aleem Ali the Manager of a new national initiative, Welcoming Cities. Mr. Ali is in Tasmania as a guest of the Multicultural Council of Tasmania.
He is keen to promote a message that migration continues to drive economic growth and is an important area for Tasmanian local governments to focus on.
“More than goodwill and cultural richness, migrants bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to the Australian economy that are vital to our nations success over the next 30 years,” Aleem Ali said.
“Over the next 35 years migrants to Australia will contribute $1.6 trillion dollars to the GDP and nearly 6% per capita GDP growth. They will also increase the workforce participation rate by approximately 16% and grow the percentage of people with a university education by 60%,” said Mr. Ali.
“Tasmania’s population is much older today than it has been in the past, and both the number and proportion of older people is growing steadily. By contrast, nearly half of newly arrived migrants are aged 20 to 34 years and in the prime of their family and working life. So migration can also assist with this major challenge of an ageing population.”
“The actions of local government are key to creating harmonious communities and there are benefits for cities that come from increasing cultural diversity and retaining more migrants,” said Mr. Ali.
Welcoming Cities is working to grow a national network of Local Government’s recognised for fostering a sense of community belonging and socioeconomic participation for all people.
Tasmanian Local Governments have been urged to do more to attract and retain migrants and refugees to the state.
“There is limited action occurring in Tasmanian Councils at this stage and much more could be done, drawing on the ideas and case studies of Councils in other states. We want to inspire and challenge Tasmanian Councils to do much more,” said Anna Reynolds, CEO of the Multicultural Council.
“We know that migrants and refugees are more likely to settle in communities that are welcoming and provide opportunities for new residents,” said Ms Reynolds.
For more information on Welcoming Cities, visit www.welcomingcities.org.au