SSI enthusiastically welcomes Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement that the government will permanently maintain Australia’s commitment to settle 18,750 refugees a year from 2018. This provides assurance that Australia will continue to settle a significant number of people and families fleeing conflict zones, saving many lives.
Mr Turnbull’s commitment to provide a further $130 million to support peace-building and assistance to displaced people; and resettling refugees currently residing in Costa Rica, are also very positive outcomes from the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in New York.
With conflicts continuing unabated in many parts of the world, we can not just standby and watch as the number of displaced people and refugees continues to grow. I’m very proud that Australia is continuing a long tradition of providing a new home for the displaced and war weary.
We have to put aside comments by those who focus on the negative and conflate terrorists with refugees; this creates fear and doubt in people’s minds towards to men, women and children in their hour of need.
Hearing those voices of fear in our community is disappointing, particularly in light of the very successful settlement experience of around 700,000 refugees since the end of World War II. SSI will continue to counter these voices with the many positive stories of integration and social cohesion that organisations like ours encounter every day.
Some people may also try to criticise refugees by claiming they are over-reliant on welfare payments, however, those claims are not supported by the medium and long-term analysis.
More than 30 per cent of all refugees supported by SSI in NSW over the 12 months to August 31 found paid employment within their first year in Australia. Almost 70 started businesses.
All of our evidence shows that people arriving in Australia as refugees integrate well and contribute greatly to Australia’s cultural life and economy. We look forward to welcoming all who come and supporting them to overcome their past experience and make the most of their new opportunities.
SSI Manager Corporate Communications Angela Calabrese, Ph: 0401 284 828
SSI Online Communications Coordinator Callan Lawrence, Ph: 0478 156 491