Australian Government’s increase to funding welcome but refugee intake doesn’t go far enough

Emergencies, General, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 21 Sep 2016

Oxfam has welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement in New York of further funding for refugees globally, but is concerned the increase to Australia’s humanitarian intake has not risen.

Oxfam’s Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke is disappointed there is no actual increase to Australia’s humanitarian intake.

“Tony Abbott announced this increase from 13,750 to 18,750 refugees and migrants just over a year ago, all Prime Minister Turnbull has done is made the commitment permanent. It is a step in the right direction but not a new announcement,” Dr Szoke said.

Previously Oxfam and other international humanitarian organisations have called for the intake to be increased to at least 30,000 by 2018/19, and Oxfam’s most recent calculations show it needs to be tripled to 42,000 by 2020/21.”

Dr Szoke said Oxfam has been calling for multi-year funding from the Australian Government to provide certainty and help the international community support people seeking safety, so this is a good first step.

“We welcome the Government’s promise of $130 million over the next three years to support assistance to refugees and we look forward to seeing the details of how it will be used,” Dr Szoke said.

“The refugee crisis is far too big for any one country to solve alone. Nations including Australia need to work together to save the lives of refugees.

“Oxfam is calling on governments – especially rich ones – to commit to welcoming more refugees,” Dr Szoke said.

Dr Szoke said the Australian Government must also resettle the 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees they agreed to take in a year ago by the first quarter of 2017.

“For the people fleeing devastating conflicts in countries like Syria and Iraq this is about having an opportunity to seek safety, work and a future for their children in a country like ours,” Dr Szoke said.

Dr Szoke also called for processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island to be closed and the refugees resettled in Australia.

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