Budget 2009-10 – Humanitarian Program
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
The Australian Government has confirmed the size of its Humanitarian Program in response to the global need for more resettlement places, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said today.
Australia will welcome 13 750 people under its Humanitarian Program in 2009–10, an increase of 250 places on 2008–09 planning levels. There will be an increase of 750 places in the special humanitarian program to 7750 places and the refugee component will be set at 6000.
‘With the challenges of displacement increasing worldwide, it is more important than ever that Australia steps up to the mark in sharing international responsibility for refugee protection,’ Senator Evans said.
‘Our move this year to a four-year planning framework will give us greater flexibility in responding to emerging humanitarian situations as they arise. It will also allow Australia to make a longer-term commitment to the resettlement of refugees in protracted situations, many of whom have been languishing in camps for years.
‘Our main resettlement focus will continue to be on refugees from the three key regions of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.’
Senator Evans said the Government would also introduce complementary protection arrangements for people at risk of the most serious forms of harm in their home country.
‘This will allow Australia to meet our protection obligations under international human rights treaties to people who may not meet the Refugees Convention definition but who cannot return home because they would be killed or tortured,’ Senator Evans said.
‘We currently meet these obligations separately through reliance on personal ministerial intervention powers which are not reviewable, transparent or subject to procedural fairness. These changes will entrench our non-return obligations in law and provide for all claims to be considered efficiently in one process.
‘The changes reflect the Government’s ongoing commitment to restoring humanity, fairness and integrity into Australia’s refugee and humanitarian policies.
‘Through Australia’s protection and resettlement programs and its international engagement and capacity-building, Australia will continue to play a constructive and active role in addressing international protection needs.’
Last update: 12 June 2009 at 16:56 AEST