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Greens push for climate refugee visa.

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Kerry Nettle, Senator for New South Wales

Greens push for climate refugee visa

8th Apr 07

Australian Greens spokesperson on Immigration, Senator Kerry Nettle, told protesters gathered outside the Prime Minister's residence in Kirribilli today that The Greens will introduce a private members bill to establish a process for recognising and accepting climate refugees in Australia.

The Easter refugee protesters gathered outside the Prime Minister's residence to call for a more compassionate approach to refugees in Australia

“This century will be the century of climate refugees, and Australia must recognise and prepare for this,” said Senator Nettle.

“As the major Pacific power, Australia must pull its weight in assisting our Pacific neighbours who will be the first to be displaced by climate change.

“Already the inhabitants of the Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea are being relocated because of rising sea levels and New Zealand has an immigration program for climate refugees from Tuvalu and Kiribati.

“The IPCC concludes that even a one metre sea level rise is "likely to affect 200-450 million people in the Asia-Pacific region".

“In the next sitting of Parliament I will introduce a bill to amend the Migration Act to insert a new visa class called a ‘climate refugee visa’.

This will enable the Immigration Minister to allocate a set number of visas for refugees displaced by a climate change related disaster.

“The Greens know that Australia could easily take around 300 people per year from Tuvalu and Kiribati, but the Howard government has ignored their pleas for assistance.

“In the absence of an international agreement on climate refugees,

Australia should take a lead by formulating its own climate refugee program.

“If the Greens gain the balance of power in the Senate at the next election, we will push for a climate refugee visa as well as a yearly quota for Pacific countries. We will also push for Australia to work internationally for an international agreement on climate refugees.”

Contact: Jon Edwards 0428 213 146