Schools to get help with asylum children

Schools asked to cater for the children of asylum seekers located in the Adelaide Hills will be given extra resources to cope, Federal Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says.

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The government has announced plans to move 400 people, mostly family groups, into defence housing at Inverbrackie in the Adelaide Hills.

It hopes to begin moving families in before Christmas with the plan raising some objections from local residents, especially over the provision of health and education services.

Mr Bowen said he understood the concerns people had but wanted to assure them all the costs associated with the influx would be met by the commonwealth.

He said that included the provision of medical care and the provision of extra teachers and classrooms at local schools.

“If there is an opportunity to bring in new teachers, to bring in new classrooms, we will pay for that,” Mr Bowen told ABC radio on Wednesday.

“We do all that in consultation with the local school and if the school is unable to cater for that we look at alternative arrangements.”

Mr Bowen said it was hoped the asylum seekers coming to Adelaide would be held at Inverbrackie for only a short time before moving to community facilities across the country.

He also confirmed the 80 homes would be surrounded by a perimeter fence with the residents required to stay within the property unless they had permission to leave.

The minister’s comments came as Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said there was no need for hysteria or attempts to demonise the vulnerable asylum-seekers who would be housed in the Adelaide Hills.

“People in the community have every right to ask questions on how the new centre will work and the federal government has a duty to give clear answers to those questions,” she said.

“But the people who will be housed at Inverbrackie deserve to be treated humanely.

“These are families with children, they are human beings and there is no need to be fearful of them.”

AAP tjd/