Image for The Tasmania Opportunity celebrates Premier’s 500 Safe Haven Enterprise Visa Announcement

The Tasmania Opportunity congratulates the Premier Mr Will Hodgman on today’s announcement of a 500 Tasmanian Safe Haven Enterprise Visa agreement with the federal government. 

The Tasmania Opportunity Executive Officer Dr David Strong stated that today’s announcement is the culmination of over a year of research, planning and communication with state leaders.  The Tasmania Opportunity gathered Tasmanian leaders in a Statewide Leaders Forum in November 2014 and the resulting document “New Deal For Asylum Seekers” specifically proposed that Tasmania was an ideal location for, and could benefit from, hosting Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders.
The Tasmania Opportunity has been actively communicating with state members of parliament about the importance and looming urgency of this issue, both to those seeking refuge from horrendous danger and hardship, and for the mutual benefits to Tasmanian regional communities.
The Tasmania Opportunity’s New Deal proposal, today enacted in Mr Hodgman’s announcement, builds on the success of other Australian regional communities that have already demonstrated the economic benefits of the supported settlement of asylum seekers. For example, Deloitte Access Economics (2015) report that the recent settlement of 54 Karen people in Nhill in Western Victoria has resulted in an economic benefit of more than $40 million. 

Dr Strong said today’s announcement is an appropriate initial response to the international refugee crisis.  It is commendable that Tasmania respond compassionately and effectively to the hardships and horrors of which we have become painfully aware.  Tasmanians have a heart to serve.  We could not sit back and bear the shame of inaction at this time of global crisis. 

Tasmania’s New Deal For Asylum Seekers embodies Tasmanian and Australian values of protecting the rights of disadvantaged people at home and abroad with a deep sense of morality and justice. 

Dr Strong said that today’s announcement provides a desperately needed reprieve for 500 people in a responsible, humane, controlled and hope-restoring endeavour.  It gives Tasmanians the opportunity to be part of a positive way forward in humanising refugee settlement in the state and national interest. Many of Australia’s finest citizens are from asylum-seeking entries in previous decades. Regional Australia needs and values such citizens. 

Today’s announcement is part of a strategic win-win-win proposal. Tasmanians, Australians and asylum seekers all benefit.  Regional Tasmanian towns stand to gain in numerous ways including financially.  Australia can start to lift its head.  We are responding.  We care.  We will do what it takes to make these 500 people feel warmly welcomed to our communities.  We look forward to their arrival with eager anticipation.  We can make the world a slightly better place, by this compassionate step forward.

Mercury: Premier pushing for more refugees to be brought to Tasmania in Safe Haven program

Will Hodgman: Cooperative, humanitarian approach needed to deal with refugee crisis


• Light The Dark Hobart vigil to protest treatment of refugees as outrage at the drowning death of a Syrian child goes global

A candlelight vigil to highlight the plight of refugees is planned for Monday night in Hobart on Parliament Lawns.

To be held simultaneously with similar events around the country, it was announced only yesterday but already more than 500 people have pledged to attend.

The image of the Syrian child’s lifeless body washed up on the shores of a Turkish beach has sparked global condemnation and grief in recent days. His name was Aylan Kurdi, and he was just three years old.

Aylan was one among millions of desperate people forced to flee from war and persecution. In 2015, the world is facing a global refugee crisis. Many Australians believe that Australia has a responsibility to do more.

This event allows ordinary people to show solidarity with refugees by lighting a candle, and “shining a light in the dark” to remember desperate and dispossessed people around the world, including Aylan Kurdi and Reza Berati, an Iranian refugee who was killed by violence on Manus Island in 2014. Berati’s death was the catalyst for the first Light The Dark events this time last year.

The event’s organiser Pip Stafford, a Hobart-based artist, says, “I am just one person who was deeply affected by the images of Aylan Kurdi; one person who wishes to make it known that I am sick of the grievously unjust actions of the Australian Government.

“If I am one person who feels this way, then I figure that Hobart is home to many other ‘one persons’: People who want to remember Aylan Kurdi and to stand together in solidarity and in the hope that our numbers and voices can make change.”

Light the Dark: Australia welcomes refugees

Candlelight vigil and rally

TIME: 6 pm – 7 pm

DATE: Monday, 7 September 2015

LOCATION: Parliament Lawns, Hobart

Bring your own candle/light source and perhaps one for a friend as well.


Sign the Avaaz Petition


• Jay Wicks: ‘Why don’t the refugees go back to where they come from?’

I have literally no idea …

From here …

The Age: When the Australian Border Force goes overboard you’re left with Operation Overkill … But when the officer saw her UK driver’s licence, his actions left her dumbfounded. “He asked to see her visa – but we don’t have a paper visa, its electronic,” said her boyfriend, Mark*, who, together with Sarah, is in Australia on a skilled work visa.  … Sarah was finally allowed her to move on. She was distraught, and 90 minutes late for work. “She felt like Big Brother’s watching, like she wasn’t really welcome,” Mark said, adding Sarah did not wish to speak to the media. “It makes you feel [like] you’re a foreigner, therefore you’re always guilty of being here illegally unless you can prove otherwise.” …

TasCOSS CEO Kym Goodes: Tasmania ready to welcome refugees

TasCOSS CEO Kym Goodes: Tasmania ready to welcome refugees • Chris Harries in Comments: Of course ISIL is in amongst the confusion of Syria and Iraq. Does anybody dispute that? But, thinking just one level deeper, how did ISIL come about? We don’t need to take on all the blame, on the basis of our military interventions…. disruption of the Middle East goes way back to British colonial times plus the interminable Palestinian problem that stemmed from World War. We just need to accept the old dictum, what we sow, so shall we reap. We are a major part of the mess creation.