Refugee rumours spark concern
TALK of up to 700 illegal refugees being moved into “special housing” on the Fraser Coast has escalated so extensively that Federal Hinkler MP Paul Neville will today demand answers from the highest levels of the Federal caretaker government.
“With the numbers of people ringing my office making inquires about who exactly is coming and when and where will they be housed, this would have to indicate something is afoot,” Mr Neville told the Chronicle on the weekend.
“But it certainly hasn’t been shared with me. I would like to know, if it’s true, what the model is and meanwhile given the current caretaker conventions that are in place in Canberra, I’ll be asking our shadow minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Scott Morrison to request urgent up-to-date information today.”
Canberra has been recently looking for regional communities to house asylum seekers because the detention centre on Christmas Island is full.
Last week when the Chronicle asked council’s CEO Andrew Brien if he’d heard of any coming uplift of asylum seekers to the Fraser Coast, he said no, but added, “I wouldn’t mind seeing a detention centre here but I don’t think the councillors would go along with it.
“We certainly need another industry in this region and we are always looking for opportunities. Besides, they’ve got to put it somewhere. I quite like the idea. I may even write to the minister suggesting it.”
Mayor Mick Kruger said he also hadn’t heard of any refugee uplift to the Fraser Coast but if it was true he’d like to hear what the community says.
“Where it went would determine it of course.”
Last week the Chronicle received phone calls from readers saying asylum seekers would be housed on the Fraser Coast shortly.
When we phoned the Federal and State ministers for comment, both their media people denied that their government was planning to move asylum seekers into the region.
And then a third media person called, just to make sure the Chronicle was not going to press with the story, which was literally on the day of the election.
In June the prime minister was reported as suggesting Dalby might like to house asylum seekers but the mayor vehemently said thank you but no thank you after a Facebook petition that carried a resounding no.
On Saturday Scott Morrison said 90 refugee boats arriving in Australia this year and four since the election was too much.