Sep 22, 2014

Crisis in Syria

The Abbott Government must urgently increase Australia’s aid contribution to the Syrian crisis humanitarian relief effort.

In recent days more than 130,000 Syrian refugees have fled across the border to Turkey.  This is in addition to the more than nine million Syrians already displaced.  Many have taken refuge in countries such as Lebanon and Jordan.

The UN has called for $6.5 billion in aid to help those affected by the Syrian crisis, the largest ever appeal for funds.

Australia, under the Coalition, has pledged just $31 million in aid – a sadly inadequate response to an enormous humanitarian need.

Oxfam has calculated that a fair share contribution from Australia this year would be $117.6 million.  The United Kingdom has given more than 20 times that amount, well over its fair share.

In Government, Labor pledged over $100 million in aid to the crisis in Syria.

Labor has welcomed the Abbott Government’s announcement that Australia will take 2,200 refugees from Syria.  However, given the unfolding humanitarian crisis, we have said that intake should be new places in addition to the existing 13,750 places in 2014-15 in the Abbott Government’s scaled back humanitarian refugee program.