AUSTRALIA’S largest Catholic volunteer organisation has vowed to help the nation’s increased intake of persecuted Syrians find a safe haven in their newfound home.
The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia welcomed the recent government’s decision to accept a further 12,000 refugees from Syria, confirmed yesterday.
The society’s chief executive Dr John Falzon said Australians could “do more” and hoped the Australian government would continue to expand the number of refugees welcome in Australia.
St Vincent de Paul Society national president Graham West said the society’s volunteers would continue to “do everything it can to help (Syrian refugees) join the community”.
“Our members operate refugee and asylum seeker services including providing financial and information support to migrants and refugees, for example through home visitation, food and financial help, visits to detention centres, and homework centres,” Mr West said.
“We hope that this welcome announcement will signal a new path forward for Australia in welcoming all who seek a safe haven.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed yesterday morning an extra 12,000 Syrians would be welcome into Australia, allowing almost double the number committed to for the financial year.
Persecuted minorities, with a focus on women, will be offered permanent resettlement in Australia.
Dr Falzon hoped religion would not be used “to discriminate against people seeking refuge”.
“People who are persecuted need our protection, not our prejudices,” Dr Falzon said.
“Religion is irrelevant here.
“All that matters is their desperate need for refuge.”