A special event in Melbourne today will mark the completion of the settlement of 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, and Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Zed Seselja, will join refugee families in Melbourne to mark the milestone.

It is just over two years since the Government announced that Australia would welcome 12,000 displaced Syrians and Iraqis fleeing conflict in the Middle East.

All families have now arrived in Australia after the final visas under the special intake were granted in March this year.

Minister Porter said this additional intake was another part of Australia’s long and proud tradition of resettling refugees and vulnerable people in humanitarian need.

“Our commitment to resettle an additional 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees, on top of the total Humanitarian Program intake of 13,750, is testament to Australia’s commitment to help those in need,” Minister Porter said.

“Australia is a compassionate and welcoming nation to refugees, with more than 865,000 people arriving under our Humanitarian Program since 1945.

“Our focus here has been on those most in need, particularly women, children and families of persecuted minorities who have sought refuge from the conflicts in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.”

Australia’s Humanitarian Program has an increased intake of 16,250 places for the 2017-18 financial year and 18,750 in 2018-19.

Assistant Minister Seselja said Syrians and Iraqis from this additional intake have settled in all states and territories and in regional and metropolitan areas.

“In recent months I have had the privilege of meeting and talking with new refugee arrivals around the country – in Hobart, Canberra, Melbourne, Toowoomba and Logan – as well as staff and volunteers from settlement service providers,” Assistant Minister Seselja said.

“These refugees have very moving stories.

“Many of the refugees who come here are seeking protection from conflict and trauma unimaginable to most of us here.

“But what was also clear to me during these meetings how well Australians help settle people into their new lives – and how we have been doing this for decades. We have some of the best settlement services in the world and we should be proud of it.

“We are committed to ensuring humanitarian entrants are able to overcome barriers, start a new life and integrate into Australian society as quickly as possible.”

For more information on the Australian approach to settlement, go to the DSS Media Hub page and the Government support page on the Department of Social Services website.

You can also view inspiring stories from refugees on their journey of settling in Australia from the Department of Social Services website.

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