Ripper wrote to Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone on September 21 urging her to address inequalities in the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme, which he argued favoured cities such as Adelaide over Perth.
Vanstone has not responded to the letter despite having had over two months to do so, according to Ripper.
“Senator Vanstone cannot bury her head in the sand and ignore Chamber of Commerce and Industry research showing we need an additional 20,000 workers a year, over and above those able to be brought onstream locally,” he said.
“Her failure to take action could help bring an early end to the boom in WA and that would hurt the entire nation, not just our state.”
In 2005-06, WA’s trade surplus was responsible for effectively reducing Australia’s total trade deficit by 65% from $43.9 billion to $15.3 billion, and the state’s economy represented 10.9% of the total Australian domestic economy, Ripper said.
But under present arrangements, skilled migrants accumulated more points for moving to cities such as Adelaide than they did for moving to Perth, he claimed.
“Senator Vanstone’s lack of action makes a complete mockery of Prime Minister John Howard’s pledge to help fix skills shortages in a range of sectors across Australia,” he said.
“Senator Vanstone needs to stop favouring her home state of South Australia and instead focus on the needs of the entire nation.”
The WA Government is also undertaking a major advertising campaign in the eastern states encouraging skilled workers to move west.