SSI, which provides resettlement support to around 20,000 refugees in Australia a year, commended the Federal Government on the increase to the humanitarian intake, taking it from 17,875 to 20,000, as announced by Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles today.
SSI General Manager Newcomers, Settlement and Integration Yamamah Agha said this was a positive step forward given the relative stagnation of Australia’s Humanitarian Program over the last decade.
“We are living through history, with more than two million refugees around the world in need of resettlement this year alone. I applaud the Australian government for stepping up to do our part to ease this global crisis,” she said.
Agha highlighted that she hoped the government would consider committing to the full 27,000 places flagged in a pre-election commitment, given the pressing global need.
“More than 108 million people were forcibly displaced by violence, conflict, and persecution in 2022, according to UNHCR figures released last month. This is an increase of more than 19 million people on the prior year, making it the largest yearly since the UN began this record keeping,” said Agha.
“As displacement increases, so too should Australia’s humanitarian intake.”
According to Agha, a further scale-up of the program would assist in meeting the massive shortfall in resettlement places globally, facilitate refugees already resettled in Australia to be reunited with family members, and allow Australia to demonstrate its credentials as a strong global citizen.
Agha said Australia’s refugee resettlement sector had previously scaled up for rapid increases to the humanitarian intake and would be on standby to support the government with the committed increase.
“In 2016, Australia resettled an additional 12,000 refugees in a single year as part of a one-off intake from Syria and Iraq. In 2021, we had less than 72 hours to prepare for an influx of refugees fleeing the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan,” she said.
“We have the infrastructure to support a humanitarian intake of 27,000 places and urge the government to act to protect the growing number of people displaced by conflict and persecution.”
Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.
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