DICK Smith’s controversial immigration campaign has been met with anger by one Leeton group.
Mr Smith, who is a well-known entrepreneur, last week announced he would be launching a million-dollar campaign to reduce the annual number of immigrants coming to Australia.
He called on the government to do more, citing the country would not be able to support the number of people coming to Australia.
His campaign has been met with sadness and anger from the Leeton Multicultural Group, with publicity officer Robyn Tabrett labelling the initiative as coming from someone “living in an ivory tower”.
She said Mr Smith didn’t realise how important immigrants were to Australia.
“A lot of immigrants aren't ‘taking’ jobs … they are doing the jobs no one else wants to do here,” Mrs Tabrett said.
“At a local level if we didn’t have immigrants we wouldn’t have JBS (the Riverina Beef feedlot).
“Immigrants are doing the jobs other people wouldn’t do.”
As part of the campaign, which includes television advertisements, Mr Smith is warning more immigration would cripple the country due to an increase in population.
He believes while the country still relies heavily on annual immigration to sustain the population and the economy, he says Australia doesn’t have the capacity to support such significant growth.
Mr Smith also wanted to see the wealthy taxed more.
Mrs Tabrett said immigrants were crucial to Australia, and Leeton’s, survival.
Leeton shire is made up of towns settled by many pioneers who moved to the area when it was first starting up.
Many of those people had immigrated to Australia and the MIA’s vast Italian population is a testament to this.
Mrs Tabrett would like to see a society more willing to help and accept immigrants to Australia.
“Obviously we can’t be taking in all refugees, but we shouldn’t be banning it,” she said.
“I do believe there is enough capacity to support immigration. I think Dick Smith’s view is coming from an ivory tower and hasn’t been well thought out. It’s narrow-minded.”
Mrs Tabrett was worried his campaign would only serve to create more tension among Australians on the issue.
The Leeton Multicultural Group was formalised in 2015 to act as a support network for new refugees and immigrants moving to town.
“We’ve been helping families settle in recently … we haven’t got any events planned for the near future, but we have many exciting ideas,” Mrs Tabrett said.
For more information about the group visit its Facebook page.