A BOLD new plan to attract 12, 000 European migrants a year will revive the state's flagging economy and relieve pressure on its ageing population, the Property Council says.
The Council has released a targeted migration policy, focused on bringing young unemployed people from economically-ravaged European countries to South Australia.
"At sub one per cent, our population growth rate is the lowest on the Australian mainland, " Property Council SA executive director Nathan Paine said.
"This not only contributes to economic stagnation, but it also allows a sense of rot to creep in - it's preventing the vibrancy we all want, " Mr Paine said.
As part of the proposal, a special expedited Visa would be established, followed by a State Government-led marketing campaign in targets including the P.I.I.G.S nations of Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.
Relocation costs, low-interest home loans and resettlement programs would be supported by the State Government, but refunded if a migrant left Australia within a five-year period.
Young families and people of family-formation age who are qualified for in-demand industries including minerals, oil and gas, defence, construction, logistics and advanced manufacturing would be sought.
"This proposal is much like the `Ten-Pound Pom' scheme that helped build our state, " Mr Paine said.
However, the plan has raised the ire of anti-population growth groups.
Stop Population Growth Now Party convenor Bob Couch said the country couldn't afford to accept more migrants.
"We're not anti-business, we just believe that Australia's got enough people on environmental grounds, " he said.
"A bigger population will just put more pressure on our water supplies, our fisheries, roads, health services, schools, flora and fauna, and arable land."
He said population growth served the interests of big business and the new residents who arrived from poorer backgrounds.
"The Property Council just wants to see more and more people to see the building industry grow, but we just cant do that forever - it's all got to stop, " he said.
"We're not racist, and we're not anti-immigration, but unfortunately big cuts in immigration will be necessary to stop population growth."
A spokesman for the Trade Minister Tom Koutsantonis said the Government agreed that more migrants were needed, but said the state already outshone WA and the eastern states as a relocation destination.
"South Australia's economy and low unemployment should be enough in themselves to attract migrants, although we need to make sure potential migrants in Europe, North America and Asia know more about our positive attributes - our climate, strong economy and job and investment opportunities, " he said.
By Giuseppe Tauriello
Sourced from Herald Sun