Tony Abbott says there are no plans to increase Australia’s official refugee intake “at this time”.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is leaving the door ajar to increasing Australia’s intake of refugees.
Liberal backbencher Wyatt Roy has called for a doubling of the 13,750 places now available under the humanitarian refugee program, once the current backlog of asylum-seeker claims is cleared.
Mr Abbott stopped short of ruling out changes in the future when asked to respond to the call.
“While we don’t plan at this time to increase the overall numbers within the existing program, there is a lot more capacity to look after people doing the right thing,” he told reporters in Queanbeyan on Monday.
The success of the government’s border protection policies had enabled it to help more refugees come to Australia “the right way”.
Mr Abbott said 4500 places within the existing program had been opened up to people displaced by the Iraq and Syrian conflicts.
The government cut the refugee intake from 20,000 to 13,750 after winning the 2013 election.
Mr Roy said “hard-won border integrity” had provided confidence to raise the humanitarian program to new heights.
The Queensland MP spent a week with border protection personnel on operations out of Darwin as part of a special parliamentary program.
“These dedicated men and women are relieved to no longer be plucking the bodies of perished children, parents and grandparents from the ocean,” he wrote in The Australian.