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Australia (Assisted Passages)

Volume 828: debated on Tuesday 21 December 1971

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he intends to continue Her Majesty's Government's financial contribution to the United Kingdom/ Australia assisted passage scheme.

The current United Kingdom contribution of £150,000 per annum to the assisted passage scheme operated by the Australian Government is made under the terms of the United Kingdom/Australia Assisted Passage Agreement which, in turn, was made under the provisions of the Commonwealth Settlement Acts, 1922–1967. This United Kingdom contribution represents about seven Australian dollars for each assisted migrant in 1971–72. In the opinion of Her Majesty's Government the policy of financially subsidising emigration to Commonwealth countries which was conceived in the 1920s is no longer appropriate at the present time. They have therefore informed the Australian Government that it is not their intention to renew the agreement when it expires on 31st May, 1972. Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom do not believe that the lapse of the agreement will have the effect of discouraging British emigration to Australia. They recognise the valuable part which British emigrants continue to play in the development of Australia. They believe that this process is in the interests of both countries and they hope and believe that it will long continue