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Celebrating 25 years of Australia's woman at risk programme on World Refugee Day



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Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

20 June 2014

Celebrating 25 years of Australia’s woman at risk programme on World Refugee Day

Australia’s commitment to resettling almost 14 500 vulnerable refugee women and their families will be celebrated as part of World Refugee Day, the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon Michaelia Cash said today.

Minister Cash will today mark the 25-year anniversary of Australia’s woman at risk programme by attending an event at the Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES) Multicultural Hub in Melbourne.

“Since its establishment in 1989, the woman at risk programme has been life-changing for almost 14 500 women and their dependants,” Minister Cash said.

“Australia is an international leader in its resettlement of refugee women who are without the protection of a partner or male relative. We are one of only a few countries with a specific programme for women at risk, consistently meeting or exceeding its resettlement target.”

Speaking at today’s AMES event is Bishree Hamaadi from Iraq, who was given a new life in Australia in 2012 through the woman at risk programme.

“I would like to say to the Australian people and government a big thank you for providing dignity and a respectful life to so many refugees,” Ms Hamaadi said.

Minister Cash said that Ms Hamaadi is just one example of the thousands of women who benefit from the programme and Australia’s ongoing humanitarian commitment.

“With more than half of the world’s refugees estimated to be women and children, this government recognises the significance of the programme and the protection it offers to those most vulnerable,” Minister Cash said.

“As a result, the government increased the woman at risk quota within the humanitarian programme to 1000 places in 2013-14. This level will be maintained in 2014-15.”

Since the end of World War II, more than 800 000 refugees and others in humanitarian need have been resettled in Australia, contributing and shaping today’s society.

Australia will again welcome 13 750 people under the 2014-15 humanitarian programme including prioritising family reunion with at least 4000 places under the special humanitarian programme (SHP) for those proposed by family members.

Refugee Week runs from June 15 to 21 to coincide with World Refugee Day. It has been celebrated in Australia since the 1980s and a wide range of community events and activities are taking place around the country.

Media Enquiries: David De Garis 0427 019 692