O'Dowd, Burnett welcome refugee uptake... if we're prepared

QUEENSLAND will take 3500 Syrian refugees - nearly a third of the additional quota Australia will accept.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced in Queensland Parliament yesterday the state would welcome the extra refugees.

"I always said we would take our fair share. But this offer, Mr Speaker, exceeds that. Typically, Queensland would settle about 13 per cent of Australian humanitarian entrants," she said. "By offering to take up to 3500 Syrian refugees, Queensland is willing to accept 29% of the refugees in this one-off intake.

"That's on top of our share of refugees from other countries."

Ms Palaszczuk did not reveal where the refugees would be settled but in a statement released by Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd, he wrote that an uptake in Syrian Refugees in Central Queensland would be a benefit for the local community and a boost to the local economy.

"If we can find jobs for refugees, I think it is a good idea to bring these persecuted people to our areas so that we can help each other," Mr O'Dowd wrote.

"Regional Australia has a lot to offer, and we need to get more people into rural areas to boost the local economy."

But he wrote that the proposal would only work if there was enough available housing and employment opportunities for the new arrivals.

>> No refugees for Gladstone until we get jobs, readers say

>> Residents worry if there will be enough work for refugees

Deputy Mayor Cr Matt Burnett welcomed the state announcement but didn't want to pre-empt what the government planned to do.

He did acknowledge there would be some issues around the existing unemployment level in Gladstone and housing.

"There is plenty of housing availability however Gladstone Regional Council doesn't have the infrastructure to house the refugees. It would be up to the state or federal governments to rent out houses, not just in Gladstone central, but in the region," he said. "My personal opinion is that the world is ours to share. I can't imagine what they've been through and it would be nice for someone to say 'welcome'."

Earlier this year and after images of Aylan Kurdi appeared lying facedown and lifeless on a Turkish beach, the Federal Government committed to accept 12,000 Syrian refugees.



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