Law Council of Australia

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Humanitarian Program 23-24

15 June 2023

On 9 June 2023, the Law Council lodged a submission in response to the Australian Department of Home Affairs (the Department) Discussion Paper regarding Australia’s 2023 – 2024 Humanitarian Program.

As stated in the Discussion Paper, the Humanitarian Program (the Program) ‘provides resettlement for refugees and others who are displaced as a result of conflict, persecution and human rights abuses’. Each year, the Department publishes a discussion paper to inform the public and seek their views on the management and the composition of the Humanitarian Program.

In its submission, the Law Council maintained its position that the Program should progressively increase to at least 20,000 per annum consistent with the Report on the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers published in 2021 and reiterated its support for the Australian’s Government’s aspiration to progressively increase the intake to 27,000 per year. 

The Law Council emphasised the importance of the Program being agile and flexible in responding to global events and to ensure Australia continues to play its part in providing humanitarian support, and addressed the Afghan and Sudanese cohorts in particular.

While the Law Council reiterated its support for the Australian Government’s commitment to allocate 26,500 places for Afghan nationals in the four years to 2025–26, it noted that this allocation will not be sufficient to address demand. It thus submitted that:

The Law Council also raised practitioner concerns about the cessation of biometrics checks, health checks and security checks in Afghanistan, and reiterated previous recommendations that consideration be given to alternative approaches to those checks.

The Law Council supported consideration being given to a cohort-specific approach to the Sudanese applicants, in the context of the significant resettlement demand which has already been generated by the conflict there.

The Law Council also:

The Law Council is grateful to the Law Institute of Victoria, the Law Society of New South Wales, and the Migration Committee of its Federal Dispute Resolution Section for their substantial contributions to this submission on behalf of the legal profession.

The Law Council anticipates that the Australian Government will soon announce the details of its 2023 – 24 Program.

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