MEDIA RELEASE: NEW MINISTER, SAME BLACK HOLE: ANSWERS & ACTION REQUIRED ON CITIZENSHIP DELAYS
TONY BURKE MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIZENSHIP AND MULTICULTURAL AUSTRALIA
SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS
MEMBER FOR WATSON
JULIAN HILL MP
MEMBER FOR BRUCE
NEW MINISTER, SAME BLACK HOLE: ANSWERS & ACTION REQUIRED ON CITIZENSHIP DELAYS
The new Minister for Citizenship, David Coleman, must urgently explain what steps he will take to clear the massive back log of citizenship applications.
Unpublished information obtained from the Department of Home Affairs shows that the backlog of Australian permanent residents stuck, their lives in limbo, has ballooned to a record high of 242,606 people.
Fairfax Media recently reported mysterious changes in approval rates for certain groups that the Minister must explain – everyone living in Australia has a right to be treated fairly under the law.
For example, for Australian permanent residents who were born in China:
- in the last five years there was a 72% average approval rate, as compared to applications lodged, yet
- the available data for 2017/18 shows approvals have suddenly plummeted with less than 20% approved as compared to applications lodged.
Despite the mounting evidence that something is seriously wrong, no adequate explanation has been given as to the growing queue and delays.
While the Turnbull government was falling to pieces, the previous Minister Alan Tudge gave a unnoticed train wreck interview on ABC radio tried to claim there was a “massive spike in applications over the last few years”.
Yet that's just not true: the official data shows a steady, normal increase on average over five years of 7.3% each year.
The only spike is in the queue of people in the black hole of the department.
Since the 2016 Federal Election alone this is a 428% increase in the queue despite only a 21% increase in the number of applications lodged.
Over the last four years, the number of applications for citizenship lodged by humanitarian arrivals has dropped 21%, and in 2017/18 only 3.9% of conferrals approved were for humanitarian arrivals.
The scandal continues to grow, communities are hurting and the new Minister’s first priority must be to explain what he will do to fix this mess.
WEDNESDAY, 29 AUGUST 2018