A Queensland Senator has suggested north Queensland be used to settle Australia’s increased Syrian refugee intake.
Speaking to an estimates hearing in Canberra, Ian Macdonald raised northern Australia as the perfect location to resettle accepted refugees, to help regions with “dwindling populations”.
The federal government, under Tony Abbott, announced it would accept 12,000 extra asylum seekers affected by the Syrian conflict, with priority placed on those in camps in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.
Mr Macdonald said resettling those families in the north could be a win-win.
“There are a large number of smaller regional communities throughout Queensland, and northern Australia for that matter, who have a major issue with a reduction in population growth,” he said in a statement.
“I recently travelled through the western communities of Queensland on my annual western road trip, where I saw communities affected by a downturn in population, which has led to a decrease in services available to the town.
“The government has been afforded an opportunity to not only help a large number of stateless refugees, but to help communities with issues of population growth and development.”
The Queensland Government has previously indicated it would accept as many extra refugees as the Commonwealth set out.
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