Immigration and Border Protection

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December 17, 2018

A Shorten Labor Government will ensure our nation can do our part to resettle genuine refugees facing persecution and in need of protection.

While the global humanitarian crisis has continued to grow, with over 25 million refugees worldwide, the Liberals have failed to improve Australia’s humanitarian response on the international stage.

Labor will commit $500 million to the work of the UNHCR, to deliver stronger asylum seeker assessment and resettlement processes across the region and closer to source countries – an important measure to ensure vulnerable people are not exploited by people smugglers to travel by boat.

This funding delivered over five years will help make sure regional processing and resettlement is implemented in an orderly and structured way through the UNHCR – by building capacity such as boosting staff, facilities and training throughout the region.

It is in addition to $30 million in urgent humanitarian relief announced to address the pressing humanitarian crises in the Palestinian Territories as well as Myanmar and Bangladesh. 

A Labor Government will also work more cooperatively with community, faith based and business groups to responsibly support and expand community sponsorship of refugees.

We will reform the Community Sponsored Refugee Program to, over time, allow up to 5000 refugees to resettle in Australia annually.

This model – akin to the successful program in Canada – will mean groups such as state and local governments, community organisations, businesses, unions, and faith-based organisations – will be able to sponsor humanitarian entrants into Australia. This program does not have a budget impact.

Support for community sponsorship of refugees has been growing in recent years – including community and faith based groups, who are raising funds and actively supporting the settlement and integration of refugees into the community and businesses supporting refugees by securing jobs for humanitarian entrants.

Labor will also appoint a Special Envoy for Refugee and Asylum Seeker Issues to advance Australia’s interests and leadership on refugee issues within the region, secure third country resettlement agreements, develop an Australian Refugee Commission, and provide policy advice for Australia’s Humanitarian Program.

This comprehensive suite of measures are underpinned by a commitment to maintain Australia’s strong borders – to ensure people smugglers are never able to exploit vulnerable people ever again.

Labor is getting the balance right – we will maintain strong borders, keep the people smugglers out of business, and do our part to address the global humanitarian crisis.

Labor’s policies ensure Australia does its fair share to meet humanitarian need, plays a leadership role in our region, and treats genuine refugees with dignity and humanity.