Ahead of the Federal Election, the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) has outlined three major issues that require immediate attention and action in 2022.
ROCA is calling for:
Priority 1: Finding real and lasting solutions for people still stuck in Australia’s offshore processing system
- Immediate release from closed detention in Australia of people previously transferred from Nauru and PNG for medical treatment.
- Resettlement places urgently negotiated and finalised.
- Safety net support for people in Australia awaiting a lasting solution.
Priority 2: Ending Temporary Protection
- Repeal of the temporary protection system and immediate transfer of temporary protection visas to permanent visas.
- Family reunion spaces made available for TPV and SHEV holders who have been separated (most of whom have been for a decade or more).
- If the legislation is not repealed, urgent amendments to be made to allow TPV and SHEV holders to access other permanent options
Priority 3: Reinstating Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program
- Restoration of the lost refugee visas, with the annual program restored to its 2013 level of 20,000 places per year to create more refugee places for those fleeing conflicts in Myanmar, Ethiopia, Syria, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Yemen, and Venezuela.
While these three issues require immediate attention and action in terms of the pressing needs of refugees and people seeking asylum, RCOA has also launched its updated policy platform, Platform for Change, which outlines the broader areas that need reform over the next Parliamentary term.
The platform highlights five key policy areas affecting refugee communities that should be considered by all political parties.
- The permanent end to offshore processing
- A fair process for claiming asylum
- Reform of the immigration detention system
- A larger and more responsive Refugee and Humanitarian Program
- Australia’s improved engagement in Asia
RCOA Chief Executive Officer Paul Power said the key policy and priority issues were identified and established through conversations with a wide range of participants from across the Australian refugee sector.
“Although there has been some positive progress, including a special intake for refugees from Afghanistan, the identified issues continue to be our priority in the long term,” he said.
“To achieve a fair, egalitarian nation that will prosper into the future we implore the political parties to seriously consider change to policies including ensuring there are lasting solutions for those stuck in offshore processing systems, ending temporary protection, and reinstating visas lost from our Refugee and Humanitarian Program.”
For further comment or to arrange an interview, contact Jackie Hanafie on 0493 393 416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.