The crises that are taking place in countries such as Ukraine, Afghanistan and Myanmar have resulted in more than 100 million people currently displaced around the world. That means that one in every 78 people on earth has been forced to flee their homes.
Despite this harrowing reality, Australia is turning its back. In 2020, the previous Australian Government cut 5,000 places from Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program – bringing Australia’s official intake to just 13,750 places annually. This is one of the lowest levels in 45 years, during a time when the need for resettlement has never been greater.
In contrast, countries such as the United States are committing to resettling 125,000 refugees every year.
Before the election, the Albanese Government committed to increasing the Refugee and Humanitarian Program to 27,000 places annually, as well as making an additional 5000 places available through the Community Sponsorship Program. This is welcomed, but Australia can do so much more.
The new Albanese Government must increase the annual Refugee and Humanitarian Program to at least 30,000 places – prioritising people selected by the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, as well as ensuring their promised reforms to the Community Sponsorship Program. They must make this clear in their Federal Budget – due to be handed down this October.