Subject: South African farmers forum in Canning
After the response you have seen today, how do you feel about the comments that have been made about the need for these people to find a way to get from South Africa into Australia?
We would have had probably 400 people here, maybe more. A very passionate crowd and people who told some very emotional stories about the conditions which are occurring to their loved ones, to their friends, their families over in South Africa.
I tried to outline the options which are available under our humanitarian program and under our skills program.
We are a very generous country, and I hope we can also be generous towards those South Africans who may be facing persecution.
If there is to be an announcement, will it be in this coming Budget?
I won't be foreshadowing any announcements out of the Budget, Eliza. That is up for the Treasurer to do at Budget time.
But is that when the humanitarian intake gets announced though?
Humanitarian intake for next year will be 18,750. That already set, that was set some time
ago in terms of increasing from, what was it, 12,500 – from memory, all the way up to 18,750. And of course we have the Syrians, 12,000 Syrian intake.
Would this be over and above if there was to be any particular allowance for white South African farmers?
Minister Dutton has said he is looking at the program to see how more South Africans might be eligible here.
By and large, what I was referring to this evening at the forum was the existing programs which we have which do provide considerable flexibility for people, regardless of where they are from.
If they are suffering from persecution, then they can be eligible for the humanitarian program. And certainly many people tonight were making a very strong case that there were a great many South Africans who were facing persecution.
One of the big areas that they were discussing were people who were over the general age for most of our visa programs, other than humanitarian.
Is there some space for looking at supported family visas, where families, who have the financial means and are able to be tested on that could be allowed to bring them in to support them financially?
We have got a variety of visas which are already available. There already is a family reunion program, and about 10,000 South Africans have come in under that over the last decade.
Most of the South Africans that have come to Australia over the last decade, about 60,000 of them have come in under the skilled migration program. They have brought skills to the country which this country needs and they have made incredible contributions to the nation.
On top of that of course, we do have the humanitarian program, itself. If you are over the age of – what did you say? Fifty, there, then you are still of course eligible for the humanitarian program and you may be eligible also for the family reunion program also.