‘White flight’ remarks disappoint minister

Australia’s multicultural affairs minister is disappointed the term “white flight” was used to describe Sydney’s immigration challenges, but agrees there are issues to be confronted.

Alan Tudge argues the challenges facing western Sydney and other parts of Australia are not about skin colour but integration.

The minister points to research showing an increasing geographic concentration of overseas-born populations, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.

He also highlights evidence to suggest the English language capability of new arrivals has deteriorated.

“We need to be honest in facing up to these issues and address them now before they become more substantial problems,” Mr Tudge wrote in The Australian on Monday.

“We should discuss these issues in a respectful manner and note that past success does not guarantee future success.”

NSW Labor opposition leader Luke Foley was roundly criticised and forced to apologise last month over comments he made about “white flight” occurring in Sydney’s western suburbs.

Mr Foley used the divisive term to describe the many “Anglo families” leaving suburbs in western Sydney struggling with the “huge burden” of immigration.

A senior Victorian Labor colleague accused him of “disgusting racist dog whistling”.

However, the mayor of the western Sydney council of Fairfield, Mark Carbone, has defended Mr Foley.

Mr Carbone said more than 7000 immigrants had been placed in Fairfield over a short period of time, which had caused “issues”.

© AAP 2018