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Minister welcomes committee report on refugee and humanitarian system

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M e d ia Release #4 Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs The Hon. Gerry Hand, MP

Parliament House, Canberra, AC T2600 Telephone: (06) 277 7860 k

MPS 61/92


The Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, Gerry Hand today welcomed the release of the Report on Australia's Refugee and Humanitarian System by the Joint Standing Committee on Migration Regulations.

Mr Hand said he was pleased that the report generally endorses major refugee policy directions taken by the Government.

"This report deals with one of the most difficult and sensitive policy challenges of our time, and it is reassuring to have a bipartisan report of this kind," he said.

A number of the Committee's recommendations have already been addressed by the Government:

- my recent announcement on the establishment of the Refugee Review Tribunal[RRT] answers most of the concerns of the Committee relating to review mechanisms;

- likewise, the proposal to enable humanitarian consideration by the RRT has already been adopted;

- short extended stay for people affected by civil unrest is already provided for;

- recently announced legislative changes will simplify the law affecting border claimants for refugee status;

- faster processing for boat people has been achieved for recent arrivals processed under new procedures;

- permanent residence for torture trauma victims: an earlier provision to enable this has been withdrawn and is currently under revision. It will be examined as a matter of urgency;

- support for the continued operation of the Port Hedland processing centre is particularly welcome.

Mr Hand said that while the recommendations relating to PRC Temporary Entry Permit holders were likely to attract most of the media attention, this part of the report should be kept in perspective. | ______ ______


"The Government position on this issue has been stated many times. It is a very complex one and it will take some time to consider both the majority and the two minority recommendations in detail," he said.

A detailed reponse to all recommendations will be prepared for tabling in Parliament as required for all Committee reports.

Canberra 14 September 1992 "

Further information: Lynne Adams 277860