MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has welcomed the response of the Federal and NSW governments to the Syrian refugee crisis, saying there are several communities in the electorate which have already expressed an interest in taking in some of the refugees.
Under current policy, the Federal Government committed to increase the existing refugee intake of 13,750 people to 18,750 by 2018.
“The Federal Government has confirmed the 12,000 places will come on top of that previous commitment, which is very pleasing news,” Mr Marshall said.
“The Prime Minister has made it clear that the focus for these new 12,000 permanent resettlement places will be those people most in need of permanent protection – women, children and families from persecuted minorities who have sought refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey – the most vulnerable of all.
“I was also very pleased to see that this package also includes an additional $44 million to supply 240,000 refugees with cash, food, water and blankets in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
“Premier Mike Baird made it very clear that we can and must do more to assist following the images beamed around the world of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi, whose body was washed ashore on a Turkish beach last week.
“This package of assistance represents a very humane response to a complex and dangerous crisis.”
Mr Marshall said he had already been contacted by community organisations in Armidale and Inverell, who were very keen to help roll out the welcome mat for prospective refugees.
“I think this response says a lot about country people and our generosity and compassion for those in need and strong desire to do something to help,” Mr Marshall said.
“I commend the members of Armidale Sanctuary Humanitarian Resettlement and Inverell’s Sanctuary Australia Foundation for taking the initiative and on their behalf I have written to the Premier expressing our region’s desire to help and to seek information on what role we could potentially play.
“Gwydir Shire Council has also expressed interest in a resettlement program, pending further information.
“I will keep the community updated on the details of the advice from the Premier.”