Over the next three years, Australia will permanently resettle an additional 12,000 refugees from Syria and its neighbouring countries. In addition, the Australian government will immediately provide additional financial aid of $44 million to the UNHCR.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the following today:
“These will be permanent resettlement places over and above Australia’s existing humanitarian program of 13,750 this year rising to 18,750 in 3 years time.
“This is a very significant increase in Australia’s humanitarian intake and it’s a generous response to the current emergency. As I indicated yesterday, and confirmed today, our 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 temporary refuge in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. I do want to stress women, children and families, the most vulnerable of all.”
Peter Dutton, the Minister for Immigration eluded to something earlier today when he said that the new policy would make Australians proud, saying, ” I think people will see it as a generous offering on behalf of the Australian public. And I think people will be proud of what the government’s proposing.”
Of the 12,000 additional refugees, there will be no religious prerequisite for intake, with one-off and persecuted minorities, women, children and families being prioritised.
“The government is also announcing that we will directly pay for the support of 240,000 displaced people in countries neighbouring Syria and Iraq through the UNHCR and other agencies,” reported Prime Minister Abbott. “This additional direct assistance will deliver food and blankets and other emergency supplies for the coming winter and is expected to cost $44m – bringing to $230m our total humanitarian contribution to the Syria/Iraq conflict.”
Confirmation that Australia will extend its military engagement in Syria was also confirmed by the Prime Minister.