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Singleton Kosovar family free to leave Australia

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M e d i a R e l e a s e

The Hon. Philip Ruddock MR Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs Telephone: (02) 6277 7860 Facsimile: (02) 6273 4144

MRS 95/99


The Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Philip Ruddock, said today consultations were being undertaken internationally to arrange the repatriation of the Singleton Kosovar family.

Mr Ruddock said the family has repeatedly indicated they wanted either to stay at East Hills or return to Kosovo.

“Staying at East Hills is not an option. The Government has made it clear that the , Kosovars do not have the option of picking and choosing accommodation. If they do not want to accept the accommodation offered at Singleton they are free to make their own arrangements,” the Minister said.

“It is worth remembering that a further 100 people arrived at East Hills today and another 410 are due on Sunday," Mr Ruddock said.

Mr Ruddock said temporary accommodation had been made available to the family in the Centre’s administrative area overnight. He said temporary accommodation would continue to be made available to the family.

He said this time would also give medical experts an opportunity to do further examinations and stabilise the position of Mr Salihu’s mother.

“Accommodation continues to remain available for the family at Singleton and we are ready to take them back there at a moment's notice," the Minister said. -“However, they have rejected the Singleton offer so there is no option but to give

them their other choice to return home."

“It is also worth remembering that over 3,500 Kosovars have accepted Australia’s hospitality with grace and dignity. As a community, we should remember that the actions of one family do not reflect upon other Kosovars," Mr Ruddock said.

ENDS 18 June 1999

Media Contact: Susan Sare 0407 415 797