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Migration Centre of South Australia

Broken Hill `perfect place` for asylum seekers



A leading lawyer and human rights advocate says Broken Hill is a perfect place to house asylum seekers.
Julian Burnside QC says regional communities with declining populations would benefit from allowing refugees to live among them.

He says asylum seekers could be easily monitored in such remote centres which would benefit from the spending of interim social security payments.

Mr Burnside says this more humane approach would redirect billions of government dollars towards needy regional towns and cities.

"Right across the country there are towns that are slowly dying because they're losing population, " he said.
"If we implemented something like this, you'd be getting people going back into those towns.

"Whatever money they brought with them - from benefits or from working - would be spent in those towns.
"Seems to me something that would actually create benefits all round."

The mayor of Broken Hill is cautious about Mr Burnside's plan but says it is something he would consider.
Wincen Cuy says any discussion about asylum seekers in Broken Hill would require heavy consultation with the community.

But Cr Cuy acknowledges that Broken Hill was built by people from far away lands.

"The Yugoslavs and the Italians and the Greeks all made up this community in the beginning and that was part of our solidarity, what brought this community together, " he said.

"So my first reaction is that we'd have to get all the details, and then I would say that under full consultation and full explanation from everybody we would look at the pros and cons for our community."

By Jack Marx



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