Wednesday, 18 September 2013
The Tasmanian Solution
We've heard about the Pacific Solution. How about the Tasmanian Solution?
Julian Burnside AO QC writes with a great blend of common sense and clarity.
But I still reckon he's been reading this blog. Remember this post?
The only real difference in his solution is that he confines it to Tasmania. And that's the only bit I'd disagree with. Why not specify other regional localities?
An extract -
The "rural idea" would see all asylum seekers released into the community on interim visas subject to a few main conditions: they are entitled to work, they are entitled to Centrelink and Medicare benefits; they must stay in touch with the immigration department by regular reporting to a Centrelink office and, until their refugee status is decided, they must live in a specified rural area.
There are about 96,000 unfilled jobs in country Australia, but even if every asylum seeker stayed on full Centrelink benefits, it would cost about $500m a year. And all of that money would be spent in rural towns, on accommodation, food and clothing. And it represents a saving of about $3.5bn a year on what the present system costs.
These savings could be applied to national infrastructure projects, including public housing projects for homeless Australians. All of this would represent a significant boost to the economies of country towns, and a boost to the construction industry.
It should be given a chance to work - a trial.
We won't see that from the current government of course. Refugees are political collateral and have been since 2001, as far as they're concerned.
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