Legislative Council: Wednesday, June 01, 2022


Ten-Pound Pom Scheme

The Hon. L.A. CURRAN (14:48): Can the minister please inform what plans are underway to ensure that there will be adequate accommodation available for those travelling to South Australia under the expanded ten-pound Pom scheme and whether their arrival will impact the availability and cost of local accommodation in the regions where they are located, noting a recent Beyond the Housing Crisis—A Home for All report revealed that there are more than 6,000 South Australians who are currently experiencing homelessness each night?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (14:49): I thank the honourable member for her supplementary question. She certainly does allude to a very important issue. Housing is the top issue in terms of workforce in our regional areas and it's something I have spoken on myself, as indeed the Hon. Mr Simms did yesterday as well. Those housing issues are ongoing, and I have talked about some of the initiatives that the Malinauskas Labor government is undertaking to address some of those issues.

We do need to, however, also bring in extra people. I do not think there is a suggestion from the opposition that we should not be bringing in extra people to try to meet some of those labour demands, and so I am certainly not trying to imply that that was the intent of the honourable member's question.

Many of those who were attracted to the ten-pound Poms may actually be backpackers and therefore will utilise the backpacker accommodation and, apart from that, they are likely to be staying for relatively short periods of time, and that is part of the ongoing challenge that we all have, and I would suggest that we can probably best command solutions if we do work together about what those solutions might be.

We need to do that because we need to ensure that those people who come here temporarily can fulfil some of the work shortages that we have, because we know that the local workforce is currently not sufficient and that the types of accommodation, just anecdotally, would be more likely to be focusing on things like backpackers and tents and things like that, rather than necessarily adding a lot of extra pressure to long-term accommodation. However, obviously we do not necessarily have a lot of data on that. We need to be addressing housing issues in tandem with other workforce issues.