Response to Syrian humanitarian crisis

Joint Media Release with:

Senator the Hon. Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs

The Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, has praised Australia’s state and territory governments, councils, businesses, communities and individuals for their response to the Syrian humanitarian crisis.

Since announcing that Australia will resettle an additional 12,000 refugees who are fleeing the conflict, the Government has received scores of offers of accommodation, food, employment, training, financial assistance, education and other forms of support.

“The extraordinary response says a lot about our nation and its generosity of spirit,” Mr Porter said. “Australians have big hearts and deep pockets. Offers of help of every conceivable type have come from all over Australia. In Victoria, for example, a businessman has offered to accommodate more than one hundred refugees in a resort. In my home state of Western Australia, a lawyer wants to foster a Syrian refugee child. Families have been telling my Department they are willing to open their homes to refugees. Companies have proposed housing refugee families in mining camps and on houseboats.”

Service providers have also been inundated with offers of support.

Settling new arrivals into accommodation is a normal part of the settlement process. There is sufficient housing to meet this need, so we are not considering accommodating new arrivals in private households or facilities.

“The Government is well-equipped to manage the settlement of the new arrivals through our existing humanitarian settlement programme,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said. “Housing and other support services will primarily be managed through our strong relationships with service providers under the existing Humanitarian Settlement Services programme. We hope to welcome the first arrivals before the end of the year.”

People who come to Australia as part of the intake will be settled in both metropolitan and regional areas. The Government is in the process of determining exactly where, and discussions are continuing between Commonwealth, state and territory and local governments.

In determining where humanitarian entrants might settle, the Department considers a wide range of factors including links to family or friends and the availability of appropriate support services.

“Later this week, I will be meeting with Refugee Resettlement Advisory Council (RRAC),” Mr Porter said. “It’s been looking at the ways Australia can respond to the needs of the new arrivals.”

While the Government does not need private housing to support the resettlement process, many of the other generous offers may contribute to the process in due course. The Minister and the Senator are distributing information kits to MPs to help them work with their electorates on the issue. 

The Government is launching a web portal to provide information about the resettlement process and how people may be able to help. The website includes contacts for service providers in local areas, and can be found at