Thursday, March 16, 2006

African refugees 'dumped without health checks' reports "the Federal Government was dumping vulnerable immigrants on NSW without providing proper medical checks and treatment to protect them and the community, NSW Premier Morris Iemma said today. Mr Iemma said the increase in asylum seekers arriving from African countries such as Sudan was posing a range of complex problems never encountered before by the state's health system.

The federal Immigration Department today strongly rejected reports it had only screened 37 per cent of more than 10,000 African refugees who had come to NSW.

But Mr Iemma told Parliament he had been advised by NSW Health that as of late 2005: "Only 37 per cent of the 4000 humanitarian refugees (in NSW) from Africa underwent screening for diseases before arriving in Australia."

"That puts the whole community in danger from diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, hepatitis and measles," Mr Iemma told Parliament.

"The Federal Government is not only dumping vulnerable immigrants on our doorstep without proper medical checks and without medical cards, they have also refused to set up a single dedicated support service in areas where refugees settle, such as western Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Tamworth."

By denying refugees access to Medicare it left them to fend for themselves while the NSW health system picked up the pieces, Mr Iemma said."

The neglect of refugees continues apace and will continue until there is a major overhaul of the whole system. A Royal Commission will be needed to identify the full extent of the systemic deficiencies.

No comments: