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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 4797

Mr MacKellar asked the Minister for Labor and Immigration, upon notice:

(   1 ) Will the Australian Government be making arrangements to bring Greek-Cypriot female refugees to Australia.

(2   ) If so, how many refugees are involved.

(3)   Who will select the refugees.

(4)   On what basis will refugee status be granted. (4) How will the refugees be brought to Australia.

(6)   Where will the refugees be accommodated (a) prior to travel to Australia and (b) when they arrive in Australia.

(7)   Will the parents, particularly of the younger girls, be accompanying them to settle in Australia.

(8)   What arrangements will be made for schooling and training of the refugees.

(9)   Who will be legally responsible for the welfare of the refugees following arrival in Australia.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   Arrangements have been made for the priority processing in Cyprus of people there, sponsored by friends and relatives in Australia, who have been displaced from their homes as a result of recent events in the island, and who are living in difficult circumstances.

This operation is not confined to females. Certainly a number of single women will be included among those to be processed.

(2)   It was initially suggested that there could be some 2,000 single women in need of resettlement, but enquiries have indicated that the number is likely to be considerably less than this. Only about ISO names have been submitted to date.

(3)   A selection team from the Australian Embassy, Athens, is already in Cyprus dealing with people sponsored from Australia.

(4)   The acceptance of Cypriots under these arrangements will not be dependent upon the grant of refugee status.

To qualify for priority consideration, an applicant will need to have been sponsored from Australia, to be displaced, and to be living in conditions of severe hardship.

(5)   Movement, in general, will be under arrangements made by the sponsors or their nominees.

(6)   The Australian operation in Cyprus is confined to the priority examination for visa issue of nominees sponsored by friends and relatives here.

It is understood that the Cypriot authorities have arranged emergency accommodation for those who require it.

As visa applicants in Cyprus will have been sponsored by friends or relatives here their post-Australian arrival accommodation will be with their sponsors or in accordance with arrangements made by the sponsors.

(7)   Yes- where the girls form part of a family group which has been sponsored and which qualifies. Young girls sponsored for unaccompanied movement will be accepted only subject to parental consent and provided that acceptable arrangements exist with regard to their accommodation and welfare. The responsibility for this will rest with the sponsor.

(8)   These people from Cyprus will be entitled to the same assistance as is extended to other migrants. In general, except for children in family groups, they will be adults or near adults.

(9)   The question of legal responsibility only arises in respect of those under 18 years of age. If a young woman under 1 8 years arrives in Australia other than in the care of a relative or is not joining a relative who will accept responsibility for her, legal guardianship is vested in my colleague, the Minister for Social Security under the provisions of the Immigration (Guardianship of Children) Act.

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