News World State govts to play refugee role
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State govts to play refugee role

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State Governments have overwhelmingly indicated a desire to take in more refugees in response to the influx of migrants escaping conflict in Syria.

The European migrant crisis reached a new level last week, after an image of the body of a dead Syrian boy, found face-down in the surf at a beach in Turkey, circulated around the world.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Monday that Australia would take more Syrian refugees as part of the “generous” allocation of humanitarian visas currently on offer.

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“We will give people refuge, that is the intention of this government,” Mr Abbott told parliament.

On Monday, ALP leader Bill Shorten called for an increase of 10,000 to Australia’s humanitarian intake and said Mr Abbott’s offer was “simply not good enough”.

“Today Labor is calling for an emergency bipartisan meeting of, not just the government and the opposition, but of state leaders, community representatives [and] religious organisations,” Mr Shorten said.

“Furthermore, Labor is calling today for a one-off increase in our humanitarian intake of refugees from 13,750, for an additional 10,000 refugees caught up in a conflict not of their making, and indeed they are part of the greatest peace-time refugee crisis that the world has seen since the conclusion of the Second World War.

“We are proposing a significant increase because this is a significant crisis.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton flew to Geneva on Sunday to liaise with the United Nations refugee agency and other international migration agencies to assess Australian assistance.

According to news.com.au, Australia is considering a number of options including providing refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey with additional resources, establishing safe havens in Syria or along the border, and increasing aid.

State governments, including Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria, have also indicated they would be willing to resettle refugees.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said the state would be willing to offer “safe haven visas” to about 1000 refugees, while Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the state was “ready to stump up and to step up”.

“The total humanitarian intake needs to increase and it needs to increase significantly,” Mr Andrews added.

Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman said about 500 refugees could be accommodated under the Safe Haven program, while New South Wales Premier Mike Baird was yet to make an announcement on the refugee crisis.

Germany has previously indicated it expected an additional 800,000 refugees and migrants this year.

In recent days, Austria and Germany re-opened their borders to thousands of refugees stranded in Hungary.

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