Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 17 September 2015) . . Page.. 3161 ..

forward to hearing directly about their expectations and needs as we prepare for a number of new people moving into our community.

For the many in our community who want to donate to Australia’s refugee response, I have been encouraging them to give to these organisations, and I encourage other members in this place to do the same. As our response is further developed, we will be in a better position to guide those who want to contribute directly to the local effort.

At the national level, the Australian Refugee Advisory Council will provide high quality legal advice to the commonwealth government on settlement issues including health, mental health, housing and interpreting services.

Clearly, continued national cooperation and bipartisanship is vital as the people start to arrive, and I expect open communication will continue between governments at all levels. I want to again stress that we do this all the time, in Australia and in the ACT.

The commonwealth funding support which is attached to the humanitarian program will also enable our local support mechanisms to be as effective as possible. I am confident that, despite the difficulties brought by the circumstances from which these people will be coming, the world-class community service providers we have here in Canberra will rise to the task and provide the support that is needed, as they have done in the past.

For the ACT government, our commitment to supporting the resettlement of refugees in the community is long standing. We believe in the principle of offering a safe haven to those in need and we know our community will profit from their contributions and the contributions of their children in the many years to come.

There is an extensive range of ACT services available for newly arrived refugees, including access to our public schools and hospitals. I have every confidence that, with the combined efforts of government and community, those people who come to our city will be able to adjust as well as possible.

I have taken the opportunity this week to reflect on the response this community has had to the refugees. We respond to those who come to the ACT because we see on our TVs the war and persecution they are seeking to escape and we respond out of the most instinctive sense of justice and care. It is the same persecution and war that drives people to make the most perilous journeys over land and by sea. Those people are no less deserving of our thoughts and compassion than those who find safety here in the ACT.

The past month has shown the desire of many Australians to show compassion to a large number of people fleeing different conflicts. The community has responded to the leadership of governments at different levels all putting their hands up to play a part. Sadly, there is no end in sight to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq which are driving so many people from their homes, or in the many places where religious and ethnic minorities face persecution in their own homelands.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video