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Refugee case supports Federal Labor's call for enquiry.



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M E D I A R E L E A S E Senator Annette Hurley LABOR SENATOR FOR SOUTH AUSTRALIA SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP &

MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS

Friday, 4 August 2006

Refugee case supports Federal Labor’s call for enquiry

Labor spokeswoman for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Annette Hurley, has slammed the Howard Government’s refugee settlement service contract policy after the tragic death of 2 year old Burundian toddler, Richard Niyonsaba.

Richard Niyonsaba died of chronic health complications one day after arriving in Australia. DIMA has admitted that a vital email sent to Richard's family's service provider explaining his health problems and medical needs was not opened in time.

“The Howard Government has mismanaged another immigration case,” Senator Hurley said, “and finds itself in court again facing expensive litigation and possible compensation”.

"The Office of the National Auditor General has put an enquiry into the Howard Government's refugee settlement contract on the reserve list. These latest developments suggest a greater focus may need to be put on the issue, to point the way to better contract management."

Senator Hurley said, "When a tragedy such as this occurs, an independent inquiry should be seen as the next course of action."

"The Howard Government has been avoiding enquiries at all cost so we now call on the Auditor General to take over.”

Senator Hurley said that there had been many reported cases in which families were not being provided with the assistance specified in the Settlement contract.

“It’s important that these families are given every opportunity to settle into the community and make a contribution,” Senator Hurley said.

“I understand that the NSW Government has called for a number of changes to be made to the current policy. Given the high intake of refugees in comparison to the rest of Australia, their views need to be given serious consideration,” she said.

It has been reported that the Niyonsaba case would now go to court to determine compensation.

Media Contact: Annette Hurley 0417 826 632