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Follow up correspondence in Nambucca Garden

A letter in the Guardian News of 28th August....covered a number of topics, including that of asylum seekers. He said this about them:
"Money should be given to local councils to provide work in their areas clearing the scrub, repairing roads, cleaning beaches and repairing properties of charity organisations.
This should include the illegal migrants who receive far better conditions than Australians, such as a home within a few weeks, and the right to reject any job they don't like.
The Government has located them in holiday houses, given them more money than the dole and pocket money - a far better deal than the people who are silly enough to vote for them."
Mike sent a response to the Guardian News, which was published on Thursday 11th September as follows:
In his letter (28th August), he repeats a number of  widely-held, but erroneous, beliefs about refugees, who he incorrectly describes as “illegal migrants”. 

The true facts are readily available on government websites. 

Refugees and other humanitarian entrants must meet the same requirements as other Australians to be eligible for public housing. They are not given preferential treatment and must remain on waiting lists. Most find accommodation in the private rental market, where they apply for properties in the same way as everyone else.  

The idea that they have the right to “reject any job that they don’t like” is simply the opposite of what happens in practice. He should take a ride in a Sydney taxi where he might have an interesting conversation  with an Afghan refugee who turns out to be a qualified engineer. Refugees, in general, will take any job offered to them to enable them to pay their way and to care for their families.

As for the government hand-outs which he refers to, a quick glance at the official figures tells a different story. 

The Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme provides assistance, which is not automatic, at 89% of the Centrelink Special Benefit, which is usually paid at the same rate as the Newstart Allowance. This equates to about $466 a fortnight, which is about $300 less than the single pension.

Refugees arriving in Australia naturally face challenges in adjusting to the Australian way of life. All the evidence is that the vast majority of them settle successfully and make a positive contribution to the Australian community. Research shows that they eventually match, and in many cases exceed, Australian-born levels of economic and social contribution. A quick glance at the HSC results each year tells its own story about the terrific achievements of our young migrants, many of them refugees.

What our refugees need, and deserve, is a little support and understanding, rather than demonisation and vilification. We might then come to realise that they are decent people seeking to make a success of their new lives in Australia.

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