Could refugees fill the gaps left by mining downturn?
INVITING refugees to regional areas could help fill the holes left by the mining industry downturn.
With vacancy rates on the rise and skilled professional shortages, Federal Minister for Capricornia Michelle Landry believes any plan to boost rural populations is worth considering.
"If (Queensland) took refugees, rather than plonking them in the city, they could go to regional areas," Ms Landry said.
"This is not about taking jobs from Australians. This is about creating opportunities.
"Just look at Middlemount and Nebo, we've had dreadful problems getting people to go out there."
Could refugees fill the gaps left by the mining downturn?
This poll ended on 10 February 2016.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Because the government would initially support refugees, Ms Landry said resettling them in regional areas would provide an immediate boost to the local economy. During that time programs could be established that would create employment opportunities to help the new residents re-train.
But she said if refugees were required to live and work in regional areas, the programs would have to be closely monitored to ensure they weren't exploited.
George St Neighbourhood Centre's migrant resettlement worker Lyn Bartlett was not able to offer opinions on the idea, but provided insight into the services required to resettle refugees.
"A difference between migrants and refugees is that refugees are forced here by circumstance. They've fled their homes and experienced trauma," Ms Bartlett said.
"It's incredibly traumatic to have your world tipped upside down.
"Many need torture counselling through to grief counselling to deal with the loss of security, the loss of everything familiar."
Ms Bartlett said refugees also often had family members missing and needed services that would help them look for those family members.
"All need intensive English and help to learn the Australian culture and expectations," she said.
Isaac Mayor Anne Baker was surprised she hadn't been approached about the idea and said extensive community consultation would be essential.
Australia agreed to resettle 12,000 Syrian refugees last year.
The Queensland government offered to take 3500.
At the end of January 2016, about 20 had been resettled nationally.