Minister Evans right on climate refugees

\MinisterFriends of the Earth, Australia has welcomed statements by the Minister for Immigration Chris Evans that he is considering ways to assist climate refugees.

MEDIA RELEASE

20 th March 2008

Minister right on climate refugees

Friends of the Earth, Australia has welcomed statements by the Minister for Immigration Chris Evans that he is considering ways to assist climate refugees.

Minister Evans said in today's Sydney Morning Herald that he is considering ways to assist Pacific Islanders through the migration program and that if a Pacific island "began to sink under rising sea levels, there would be an expectation that Australia would have a role to play".

"Rising sea levels, droughts and extreme storms will create hundreds of millions of climate refugees and Pacific Islanders are particularly vulnerable", Cam Walker said today.

"Already Carteret Islanders in PNG are having to move from their homes."

"That is why we welcome the Minister's commitment to look at how Australia can help."

"There is no point putting our head in the sand, we must put in place a special immigration program for climate refugees now to be ready for any large scale displacements in the Pacific."

"Skilled migration programs like New Zealand's Pacific access category and a possible Pacific guest-worker program can also make an important contribution to improving the social and economic resilience of Pacific Island countries."

"Australia must also assist with adaptation assistance in the Pacific and relocation within and between countries in the Pacific."

"There is no doubt that climate change already in the pipeline will have disastrous effects in the Pacific in the coming decades, that makes the task of urgently cutting emissions all the more important to prevent further disaster."

"Australia has a particular responsibility to take action because our historic emissions and our current emission levels are some of the highest in the world."

Friends of the Earth's Climate Justice campaign works to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on the world's poor people and countries in the Australian community. The campaign has asked the Federal Government to create an additional humanitarian immigration stream that will assist climate refugees.

 

Cam Walker, National Liaison Officer: 0419 338 047