Archbishop Jeffrey Driver has welcomed the introduction of the Federal Government’s Community Placement Network initiative to temporarily house asylum seekers in Australian family homes.
Under the plan the Government will seek to access the 5000 Australian homes registered under the privately run Australian Homestay Network to host asylum seekers released from detention on bridging visas.
With the Immigration Department facing a potential shortage of community housing to accommodate detainees who are being released into the community, the CPN initiative is a positive shift to more community based processing of asylum seekers in Australia.
“The policy is an opportunity to acknowledge a good and humane outcome for refugee immigration,” Archbishop Driver said.
“At the same time I do urge that the focus of this new initiative be on long term detainees - especially those who have been recognised as refugees but waiting security clearances - unaccompanied minors, and those with mental health issues.”
“It seems many new arrivals are in and out of detention very quickly, while sadly we still have people – even those who have been recognised as refugees – still in detention after 12-15 months,” the Archbishop said.
Archbishop Driver expressed concern over comments from Opposition spokesperson, Scott Morrison, criticising "Labor's decision to house adult male asylum seekers released on bridging visas in the spare rooms of Australian families”.
“Australian families, churches and community organisations have had a wonderful history of welcoming refugees to our country and generally have been enriched by the experience,” Archbishop Driver said.
“Perhaps the high point of this approach to refugees was our effort during the Vietnam War. Here is another opportunity for us to be welcoming at a very practical and personal level.”
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