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Ruddock thanks Church for 'personal touch' in migrant and refugee care

Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Minister Philip Ruddock issued a statement in response to the Australian Catholic Bishops' a Statement on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees congratulating the Church for its sensitivity in responding to the pastoral needs of migrants and refugees.

The Minister could not attend Wednesday's launch in Canberra, but sent best wishes along with his statement. The statement was delivered by the Acting Deputy Secretary of the Humanitarian Branch of the Department.

Mr Ruddock wrote: "I am conscious of the contribution of the Catholic Church and its many volunteers, who are among those providing the personal touch in the settlement process so necessary in the success of those who have been resettled."

He described the Bishops' Statement as "symbolic of the vital role the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office plays in responding to an important pastoral challenge, presented by the arrival and presence in Australia of many migrants and refugees".

The document itself did not address church concerns about the alleged inhumanity of the Government's treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, but the Minister took the opportunity to remind the Bishops that "relative to population size, our response to the global refugee situation is equally one of the best in the world".

Click here to read the Minister's statement.