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Red Cross supports care in the community for vulnerable asylum seekers

Friday January 21, 2011

Australian Red Cross supports and welcomes the Government's decision to move vulnerable asylum seekers, particularly families and unaccompanied minors, into community detention arrangements. We believe this is a humane policy and is in line with Australian values.

'As a humanitarian organisation Red Cross is focused on providing support for the most vulnerable members of society, and there is little doubt that asylum seekers are among those most in need,' said Australian Red Cross' Director of Services and International Operations Michael Raper.

'This program was initially introduced by the Australian Government five years ago and has operated continuously since. Red Cross has been involved all along so we are confident that the recent decision to expand the community detention program by moving families and unaccompanied minors into community care will not have any noticeable impact on the availability of housing, education, health care or services for other vulnerable community members.

'Asylum seekers who move to community detention will be placed across many communities around Australia, ensuring there is no significant impact on the support provided to other vulnerable groups will be part of our decision making,' said Mr Raper.

Red Cross has long been concerned about the use of alternative detention arrangements (such as motels and remote locations) for families and children as they are not suitable or sustainable. These arrangements have many of the hallmarks that make them entirely inappropriate for children, families and other vulnerable groups, including security monitoring, limited access to social supports and other services especially for those in remote locations, inability to participate in community life and inability to live as a family group.

'There is a very real need for viable and sustainable community alternatives to these arrangements, and Red Cross welcomes the opportunity to be involved in the implementation of this more humane approach,' he said.

Available for interview:
For media enquiries or to arrange interviews contact Red Cross media adviser Kim Batchelor on 0457 542 113 or