The Courier-Mail

SYRIAN SAFE

Government to offer temporary visas to fleeing victims of war

- EXCLUSIVE STEVEN SCOTT

IMMIGRATIO­N Minister Peter Dutton will offer to boost temporary protection visas to people fleeing Syria and Iraq but return people to their homelands once the war ends.

The plan, based on shortterm “safe haven” visas offered to people from Kosovo in 1999, will be one of the options on the table in talks between Mr Dutton and United Nations refugee agency UNHCR this week.

Mr Dutton is today travelling to Geneva to meet UNHCR officials after Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was prepared to take a “significan­t” increase in refugees from Syria and Iraq but reduce the number of places of- fered to otherer asylum seekers. “Australia stralia as always will stepep up to the plate,” Mr Abbott bbott said.

“We can’t n’t save the world single-handedly, e-handedly, we shouldn’t pretend retend otherwise but neverthele­ss eless we will be a significan­t part art of internatio­nal efforts to help in this very difficult situation.”ation.”

The move e comes as the Government’s t’s National Se- curity Committee of Cabinet is set to tomorrow sign off on joining US-led air strikes on ISIS targets.

Australia’s existing fighter jets and air-to-air refueller will be given the go-ahead to extend targeted bombing raids fromfr Iraq to Syria.

Australia has accep cepted about 4500 refugeesre­fug from Syria and Iraq in the past year outou of a total 13,750 places.

The Government­G plans to gradually increase the total number of refugee places to 18,750 a yea year by 2018 and extra permanent refugee places for people fleeingfle­ein the Middle East would be withinw this total, Mr Abbott said said.

The PM would not com-

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