Australians Inundate Government with Support for Syrian Refugees
15 October 2015 at 11:40 am
The Australian people have showed their generous side with the Federal Government being inundated with offers from people willing to help the 12,000 Syrian refugees being resettled in the country in any way they can.
Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, said the government had received “scores of offers” of accommodation, food, employment, training, financial assistance, education and other forms of support from the public.
“The extraordinary response says a lot about our nation and its generosity of spirit,” Porter said.
“Australians have big hearts and deep pockets. Offers of help of every conceivable type have come from all over Australia.
“In Victoria, for example, a businessman has offered to accommodate more than one hundred refugees in a resort. In my home state of Western Australia, a lawyer wants to foster a Syrian refugee child. Families have been telling my Department they are willing to open their homes to refugees. Companies have proposed housing refugee families in mining camps and on houseboats.”
Porter said service providers had also been inundated with offers of support.
In September then prime minister Tony Abbott bowed to public pressure by announcing that the government would accept 12,000 Syrian refugees.
Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, said settling new arrivals into accommodation was a normal part of the settlement process and as there was sufficient housing to meet this need, the government was not considering accommodating new arrivals in private households or facilities.
“The Government is well-equipped to manage the settlement of the new arrivals through our existing humanitarian settlement program,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.
“Housing and other support services will primarily be managed through our strong relationships with service providers under the existing Humanitarian Settlement Services programme. We hope to welcome the first arrivals before the end of the year.”
Porter said people who come to Australia as part of the intake would be settled in both metropolitan and regional areas.
He said the government was in the process of determining exactly where the refugees would be resettled, and discussions are continuing between Commonwealth, state and territory and local governments.
He said in determining where humanitarian entrants might settle, the Department of Social Services would consider a wide range of factors including links to family or friends and the availability of appropriate support services.
“Later this week, I will be meeting with Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council (RRAC),” he said.
“It’s been looking at the ways Australia can respond to the needs of the new arrivals.”
Porter said while the Government does not need private housing to support the resettlement process, many of the other generous offers could contribute to the process in due course.
The government has started distributing information kits to MPs to help them work with their electorates on the issue.