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Safe Haven Investment Welcome, Delay Questioned

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Tags: Refugees, Housing, Syria

Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader 

The Greens welcome the investment in settlement services for Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders, who have left everything to flee conflict, deprivation or persecution.

Tasmanians are warm-hearted and have a proud history of welcoming displaced people. In return, our society and economy are made all the richer. 

We welcome the government's move to support SHEV holders in attaining education and employment outcomes, but question the lengthy delays in the resettlement process so far. 

It was almost a year ago that Premier Hodgman said the first Syrian and Iraqi refugees on SHEVs would be here "by Christmas". Today, he's revealed we're not expecting refugees from Syria or Iraq for more than a year.

It's not clear why it's taken so long to resettle SHEV holders from war ravaged Syria and Iraq in Tasmania.

Last September, the Premier told Tasmanians he would step in immediately and now he's saying we won't see these new arrivals for 12 - 18 months.

While the Liberals have promised to invest in settlement services as they must, there's still no word on the extra housing that will be required. 

CatholicCare have indicated the 500 or more SHEV holders will be expected to seek private housing yet the recent Rental Affordability Index places Hobart and its suburbs at the second most unaffordable in the country.

While Premier Hodgman's announcement today is welcome, his government needs to stop dragging its heels and engage more actively with whoever becomes Prime Minister on behalf of those who hope for new lives in Tasmania.