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Perth’s Syrian refugees may start in camps

West Australian Premier Colin Barnett says about 1000 carefully-vetted Syrian refugees could be initially housed in camp-style accommodation.


Mr Barnett said the refugees would be accommodated in the Perth metropolitan area and South West region, and would then be introduced to different communities.

He stressed they would not be put into “detention camps or anything like that”.

Community groups have offered to help, with the Royal Agriculture Society offering use of the Claremont Showgrounds.

“That could be a good place to accommodate the people initially,” he told 6PR.

“Also community centres could be used – sport and rec camps and the like.

“If we have to set up a large sort of camp environment on a temporary basis, well, Western Australia is experienced in the mining industry. It’s got enormous capacity to cater for people and do it in a good way.

“It won’t be all at once and it probably won’t get underway for another couple of months or so.”

The refugees wouldn’t go onto a public housing list or “jump the queue”, he said.

Mr Barnett said he expected the federal government would bear most of the cost but the state government wouldn’t shy away from contributing.

He also said the federal government’s pledge to take in an additional 12,000 Syrian refugees Australia-wide was “a good figure”.

On Monday, the premier had urged Prime Minister Tony Abbott “to have a little bit of a rethink” and start with taking in 10,000, saying “talking about long-term changes to intake levels, I don’t think does the job”.

If the crisis worsened, Australia could take more in the future, he added.

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