2 Dec 2004

Australian academic warns of flood of illegal migrants

4:29 pm on 2 December 2004

An outspoken Australian academic, Professor Helen Hughes, says unless Pacific nations become economically viable it could lead to a flood of illegal migrants into Australia.

Professor Hughes has produced a report called "The Pacific Is Viable," for the Sydney based Centre for Independent Studies.

She says Pacific Island nations would have high standards of living within a generation if they adopted policies that promote growth.

Professor Hughes says to be viable Pacific nations need to start to work and to earn an income and this could be done through tourism and agriculture.

She says if this is not achieved then residents will abandon the failing island states and this could lead to mass illegal immigration into countries like Australia.

"Almost certain to...why not? There is already illegal immigration from Papua New Guinea to northern Australia through the Torres Strait islands, but it is a trickle. But this could become a flood."

Professor Helen Hughes.