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Refugee increase wins Church praise

Fr John Murphy of the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office has welcomed Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone's announcement this week of an increase in the humanitarian program for 2004-05 from 12,000 to 13,000 places.

He said: "This is the first real increase in the program for about seven years and it is an important step in the right direction."

The refugee component of the program will be increased by 50%, from 4000 to 6000 places. Refugees who come under this component of the program have their airfares and medical costs paid by the Government and receive intensive post-arrival assistance. The majority of the places in the refugee component will be for people from African countries.

"We are aware of many people from Africa who have need of settlement in Australia. The increase in numbers will give an opportunity to more of them to come here," said Fr Murphy.

He continued: "I believe that the announced increase in the humanitarian program will attract a positive response from the community, and certainly from all reasonable and compassionate people."

Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office welcomes increase in humanitarian numbers (Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office 24/3/04)

Australian Migrant & Refugee Office
Refugee numbers to increase 50pc (The Courier-Mail 24/3/04)
Vanstone called racist by kids (The Age 24/3/04)
$12.6m to aid refugees: Downer (Herald-Sun 24/3/04)

25 Mar 2004