Migration contributes to over half of Australian population growth

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According to new figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), net migration has contributed 56 percent of the total population growth in Australia for the year ending 30 June 2007. The total resident population of Australia at this point reached a landmark 21,017,200.

Western Australia had the largest population percentage increase over the previous year, at 2.3 percent, followed by Queensland (2.2 percent) and the Northern Territory (2.0 percent). Tasmania had the slowest population growth, at 0.7 percent.

The population growth rate of 1.5 percent was the highest since 1989.

Luring highly skilled workers to the country has been the main focus of Australia's immigration policy in recent years. Australia has been experiencing labor shortages in fields such as health care and mining.

The government maintains a Skilled Occupation List of job titles it considers in demand and awards points to potential migrants who can claim experience in these occupations.

Australia's system has been so successful that it has influenced other countries' immigration policies. The United Kingdom will be implementing a new points based system that the government says was heavily inspired by Australia's.