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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 9 November 2021) . . Page.. 3138 ..

can implement those improvements. We know there will be people out there who have had an experience that was not ideal. We are always looking to improve on our processes and our systems, whether that is complaints handling or the delivery of services, as with any service delivered by the government, the private sector or the community sector.


MR BRADDOCK: My question is to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs. Minister, whilst falling far short of the humanitarian demand from Afghanistan, Australia is taking in Afghan refugees. How is the ACT government contributing to that program?

MS CHEYNE: I thank Mr Braddock for the question and his interest in how the ACT government is supporting Afghan refugees, evacuees and their families. My latest information is that Canberra has received a total of 113 evacuated people from Afghanistan. This includes 75 clients who were evacuated directly from Kabul. Generally, these might be Canberra citizens or people who are otherwise connected to Canberra residents on a range of different visa types, and their families have largely been issued with 449 visas, which are temporary protection visas.

There have also been another 38 clients who have come to Australia and then on to Canberra through what is termed the new program. This is for Afghans who were not able to leave Kabul during the main evacuation, but have been able to make their own way out of Kabul since and access Australian Defence Force flights from Islamabad and other cities to Dubai and then on to Australia.

We have been supporting these families through both the ACT government and the Australian government. In particular, the ACT government is providing direct financial support via the Australian Red Cross, in the form of a one-off settlement assistance grant of up to $5,000 per family, to assist with securing longer term accommodation and to pay for essential living costs. We have been working with the Australian Red Cross to share information, including with people who may have lost contact with family because of the humanitarian crisis. We have been working right across our community organisations and Afghan—(Time expired.)

MR BRADDOCK: I understand that the ACT is currently not offering quarantine to these asylum seekers in the ACT. Why is that the case?

MS CHEYNE: I may need to seek some clarification on whether Mr Braddock means quarantine in terms of the health situation or quarantine through coming back from overseas.

Mr Braddock: The health situation.

MS CHEYNE: I will double-check this, but it is almost certainly because these evacuees would have arrived in another city first, before they have then come back to Canberra, given that Canberra has not been receiving direct flights.

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