Report on the Business, Innovation and Investment Scheme, speech, March 24, 2015

 I would like to join the chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Migration. As deputy chair, I am very pleased to have this opportunity to speak to the committee's report on the inquiry into the Business and Innovation and Investment scheme.Attracting business and investment from overseas is a very important component of our immigration program. Indeed, at a time when most Western countries are competing with each other for business and investment, it is important for us here in Australia to provide the best possible incentives and opportunities in order to attract the type of investment and business skills that will enhance and develop our economic growth and create jobs here in Australia. So having a robust and effective investment visa program is key to realising and enhancing our economic growth and prosperity.


It is for this reason that the Joint Standing Committee on Migration held the view that it would be beneficial to inquire into the existing Business Innovation and Investment Programme in order to assess its effectiveness and also to assess whether it was meeting its objectives. I am very pleased to be able to speak to this report and to join the chair in saying that the report found that further details are required in this program because, as the chair so well articulated to the chamber, there were many impediments in the type of information that was available to us and the quality of the information.

Our inquiry officially began on 18 March 2014, and the committee received 23 submissions and five exhibits from a range of federal, state and territory government departments, peak bodies, migration lawyers and migration agents. The committee also took evidence from 20 organisations and individuals at seven public hearings held in Canberra and Sydney over the course of the inquirySome of the challenges the committee faced went to the nature of the evidence. In fact, limitations on the data that was provided to us by federal, state and territory governments meant that we were not able to actually fulfil the objectives of the inquiry. The committee also faced a number of other challenges that have already been stated to the chamber by the chair. The exclusion of a key component of the program, the Significant Investor Visa stream, meant that our inquiry was hampered to a certain extent in its full ability to examine the business innovation component of the program.

But, despite the obstacles, the findings of the report we are tabling today aim at attracting investors and company owners who have demonstrated a history of success in investment, innovation and management of a business, to work and live here in Australia. Australia's migration program has a good business innovation program, but it can be improved. Therefore the committee has recommended that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection further examine the program, with a focus on the suitability and attainability of the program's objectives.I would like to take the opportunity to thank the committee secretariat. In particular, I would like to thank our secretary, Mr Jerome Brown, the inquiry secretary, Mr Paul Zinkel, our research officers, Mr Nathan Fewkes and Ms Vanessa Wong, and our administrative officers, Mrs Dorota Cooley and Ms Karen Underwood, for their incredible support—in particular the support that they gave to the committee during its inquiry. I commend the report to the chamber