Media Release by Senator the Hon Zed Seselja

Tasmania welcomes newly arrived Syrian and Iraqi refugees

The Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Senator Zed Seselja, and Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman, joined newly arrived Syrian and Iraqi refugee families for a BBQ lunch in Hobart today as part of welcoming them to Australia.

About 40 people have arrived in Tasmania as part of the additional intake of 12,000 escaping conflict in Syria and Iraq, which was announced by the Australian Government last year.

More than half of this additional intake, about 7,835, have already arrived in Australia, and families have settled in every state and territory.

Senator Seselja said the response by Tasmanians to the Syrian and Iraqi humanitarian crisis, and from communities across Australia, has been generous.

“This heartfelt response reflects the long-standing tradition of pitching in and helping others in times of need,” Senator Seselja said.

“Many families have spent a number of years in refugee camps after fleeing harrowing circumstances in Syria or Iraq, and this generosity of spirit shown by Australian communities is helping our newest arrivals feel at home.

“I’ve been told of the great support being provided to families and I want to thank our Humanitarian Settlement Services provider here today, CatholicCare, who are coordinating these efforts so well.

Senator Seselja said the dedicated Humanitarian Settlement Services providers across Australia are assisting families with the things they need to settle as soon as they arrive.

“The service providers are ensuring our humanatrian entrants have access to English language training, helping families to enrol children in school, arranging torture or trauma counselling, and providing assistance to help people source and secure employment, further education or training.

“I had the privilege today of meeting some of the families who have recently arrived from Syria and Iraq to settle here in Tasmania.

“Their stories, and those of the other families fleeing the war torn region of the Middle East, are incredibly moving.

“The welcome and support of the local community is vitally important to helping families to settle and to build their new life here in Australia.”

Senator Seselja said it is important to make sure that families are given every opportunity to start their new lives successfully when they arrive here in Australia, and to participate and integrate in the community.

“Because of the Government’s strong border protection policies, our humanitarian program can take some of the most desperate people on earth and prioritise those who need it most.”

For more information on the Australian approach to settlement, go to the DSS Media Hub page and the Government support page on the Department of Social Services website.