Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone's announcement to increase the places in the humanitarian program for 2004-05 from 12,000 to 13,000 places was welcomed by Fr John Murphy of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office.
Fr Murphy says that it was the 'first real increase' in seven years and that it is an important step in the 'right direction'.
"I believe that the announced increase in the humanitarian program will attract a positive response from the community, and certainly from all reasonable and a compassionate people," he added.
This results in a 50% increase in the refugee component of the program, from 4000 to 6000 places. Those under this component would not only have their airfare and medical expenses paid by the government, but also receive intensive post-arrival assistance. Refugees from African countries would form the majority in this component.
Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office welcomes increase in humanitarian numbers (Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office 24/3/04)
Church Support Refugee Increase
Published 29 March 2004 | Christian Today