Refugee Bodies Prepare For 2016 Intake

26/12/2015 3:43 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Asylum seeker advocates and support groups are preparing for the bulk of Australia’s 12,000 refugees as part of its increased humanitarian intake to begin arriving in early 2016.

Refugee families have already started arriving in WA and Melbourne in small numbers, with the vast majority expected to arrive next year.

NSW has offered to take 4000 refugees, and the Huffington Post Australia understands discussions are taking place between federal, state and local governments.

Refugee Council of Australia communications director Tim O’Conner said there had not been a lot of clarity around the expected time of the arrivals.

“Certainly more information about timelines would be very welcome,” he said.

“The community is very keen, we’re still getting many, many calls from people every day saying ‘we want to help, we’ve got a spare room.’

“But there’s not a lot of clarity around what the expectations are from government and what the requirements will be.”

The council’s Sydney based CEO, Paul Power, is currently in the Middle East talking to Australian officials, O’Conner said.

“He’s trying to find out a bit more information about what’s actually going on,” O’Conner said.

“Obviously this has to be done in such a way where all the requirements of government are met, and many of those are security requirements and I would imagine that is component of the process.”

He said the centre has had 100’s of calls from members of the community offering work and accommodation for refugees.

Assyrian Resource Centre spokeswoman Carmen Lazzar said it was her understanding some 3,400 interviews had been conducted in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

She said she expected six or seven families to arrive in Australia before Christmas.


People hold candles up in support of refugees on September 7, 2015

In mid-November the first family of five Syrian refugees landed in Perth. Originally from the largely destroyed city of Homs, Syria, the Social Services Minister Christian Porter said at the time the family has been "through quite a lot".

They were followed in early December by an Iraqi family bound for Melbourne.

In November immigration minister Peter Dutton warned the timetable for refugees coming to Australia could change as authorities undertake thorough security checks, including biometric scans.

Treasurer Scott Morrison recently said the government will spend $900 million on the resettlement plan.

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