Wednesday, August 18, 2004

HELPING TEMPORARY REFUGEES

The local council wants them to stay. And the decision could allow thousands of temporary refugees or people with Temporary Protection Visas (TPV) living in Australia to stay permanently in the country, if the Norwood, Payneham & St Peter’s amalgamated local government council in South Australia has its way.

The council has passed a motion asking the state government to lobby the Federal authorities on the issue. “The motion is about population, which is a concern of local government”, Councillor David Winderlich said in a recent statement.

“Here we have a long-standing problem and a group of people who have been terribly unlucky in life…We can do the humanitarian thing and do the right thing by them”.

The issue of a rapidly shrinking population is a fundamental one; a major concern for Australian political leaders of all persuasions. And the matter will not be allowed to rest.

In particular, South Australia is really keen to attract higher numbers of migrants and refugees to offset the threat of shrinking population and economic decline.

Currently, there are 9,500 temporary refugees or TPV holders in Australia who are allowed to stay for three years before being returned to their countries of origin, if in the opinion of policy makers, the conditions in their home countries seem to have improved.

The council’s decision is a step in the right direction. It will go a long way to help increase understanding and acceptance of temporary refugees; encouraging them to find a new home in Australia.

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