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Catholic Committee calls on Govt to rethink migration quota for refugees

The Federal Government would enhance its public profile if it were to reconsider the quota it has forecast for its humanitarian Program for the next twelve months, according to the Bishops' Committee for Migrants and Refugees.

But the Committee has welcomed the Government's decision to increase the Migration program (non-humanitarian) by about 10% for 2001-2002.

"We are particularly impressed by the increase in the non-humanitarian program as it reflects a strong family focus in the government's commitment to migration in the family stream," said Director of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, Fr John Murphy. "However, we are disappointed that the Minister has indicated the Government will not increase the humanitarian component of for next year."

"It also appears that the number of people who will be granted visas outside Australia will be dramatically reduced as there are already people in Australia, for example those in detention centres, who will be granted refugee status from the numbers allocated to the humanitarian program," said Fr Murphy.

"Australia should join with other settlement countries to further develop programs that would allow an increased number of humanitarian settlement places," said Father Murphy. "This would give displaced people realistic hope of acceptance by a country like Australia instead of resorting to people smugglers."