City has skills to handle refugees

Paul Rafferty and Eric Imani are confident services can be extended to meet demand.                 d443445
Paul Rafferty and Eric Imani are confident services can be extended to meet demand.               d443445

The comment came after the Australian Government�s commitment to accept 12,000 refugees from persecuted minorities and provide an extra $44 million to help deal with the crisis.

Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre director Eric Imani said the centre was expecting an influx of Syrian refugees and that its services could be extended to meet the demand.

�We have got the skills and experience; we have been dealing with the project for 20 years and have a big pool of volunteers, bilinguals and other professionals to get together and help these people,� he said.

�The City of Stirling has the largest number of migrants and refugees and most of the people here arrived on refugee status; they know what their troubles are.

�We worried about these people. We knew they were coming, they should come here. It is a big delay but we are happy to do whatever we can.�

Humanitarian Settlement Services manager Paul Rafferty said Syrian refugees were well-|educated, entrepreneurial and business-minded so they would be a good fit in the community.

�We look forward to working with Syrian refugees; we don�t know what numbers or when it will be, though,� he said.

�Syrian refugees have been a part, though not a big part by any means. Most of our refugees are Karen-speaking and people from the Thai Burma border. Syria has not ranked highly today but we knew it would do eventually.�

Mr Rafferty said the image of a three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach was the tipping point for action around the world.

Mr Imani said most of these things happened and nobody notices but this one, a little boy, brought a big change to the world and showed the generosity of European countries.

�We have these resources here and we need people to be here because the generation is ageing, we need younger generations,� he said.

�It�s a good opportunity for the Australian Government to take these people in, support them in an appropriate way through the program and enable them to be independent.�