MIRRABOOKA migrant and refugee experts say the Syrian crisis is not a new problem and that action around the world is delayed.
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 migrant 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 into 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, not a big part by any means. Most of our refugees are Korean-speaking and people from the Thai-Burma border and Syria has not ranked highly today, but we knew it would do eventually.
“This is not a new issue; the Syrian refugee crisis has been a bit of a delayed reaction to the world which, I think, has been highlighted by more recent events and numbers.”
Mr Rafferty said the image of the 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 nobody noticed previous incidents but this one – involving 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 enabling them to be independent.”