Many Australian business leaders have urged the Federal government to increase the intake of Syrian refugees in the country. This follows an ongoing visit of an Australian business delegation at the Syrian refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon.
According to the business leaders, the resettlement target in Australia needs to be hiked for taking at least 30,000 people. Tony Shepherd, a member of the group, said Australia should increase its Syrian refugee intake from the current 12,000. Shepherd is a former head of the Business Council of Australia.
“I think Australia and the rest of the developed world is going to have to step up to the plate and increase the number of resettled refugees they’re prepared to take,” he told Radio National.
The delegation, Friendly Nation Initiative, had a range of Australian companies and business organisations in its fold. They are ready to provide jobs and training for about 12,000 Syrian refugees who will be resettled in Australia, reports ABC News.
Shepherd referred to the enormous contribution made by refugees in the past in augmenting Australia’s economic development. “I think it’s within our economic and humane capacity to do it. We believe that business should enter the compact and offer the jobs and training that these people need,” he noted.
Adelaide businessman Ian Smith also sought admission of more Syrian refugees. He pointed to the presence of many professional people in the refugee camps. Citing their plight, he said, unless other nations stepped up help these families would be in deep trouble.
“But these people are not looking for pity, these people are looking to contribute and the overwhelming feeling we have had is if they can come here, or they can go to other countries, they can contribute,” Smith noted.
Meanwhile, one of the first resettled Syrian refugee families in Australia celebrated Australia Day enthusiastically. The family celebrated the national day with a traditional barbecue in Perth, reports Sky News.
Bashar Kujah, his wife and three children attended the community barbecue at Bayswater Civic Centre on Tuesday. They were the first of 12,000 Syrian refugees to be resettled in Australia. Hailing from Homs, in western Syria, Kujah and family had been living in a camp. Kujah said he would give priority for learning English, and educate his children. He would also try to get work as a butcher.