A new option for asylum seeker policy proposed by an expert pannel has been welcomed by the head of a western Sydney Afghan migrants group.
President of the Hazara Council of Australia Mosa Gherjestani said he agreed with most of the findings in the report on asylum seeker policy, which was led by former Defence chief Angus Houston.
The report, which recommended a return to processing asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru, was backed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Monday.
But Mr Gherjestani said the recommendation would only work to save lives if Australia’s intake of refugees was increased through the ‘‘right channels’’.
‘‘People smugglers don't care one per cent about the wellbeing of the people,’’ he said.
‘‘We should concentrate on having people come to Australia through the right channels.
‘‘It may take two years to get humanitarian visa approved but it only takes six weeks to get here by boat.
‘‘(But) any policy which is good for the government, the Australian people and refugees, we are in favour of.’’
Mr Gherjestani agreed with the report’s recommendation that Australia increase it’s refugee intake from 13,750 to 20,000 a year.
But he said the policy that prevented refugees who had arrived in Australia from sponsoring their families to migrate, would still compel people to risk their lives on illegal boats to Australia.