7 September 2015

The Australian Christian Lobby today welcomed the Abbott Government's moves to increase the number of Syrian refugees but said Australia's overall refugee intake needed to be lifted.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton renewed ACL's long-running call for the annual humanitarian intake to be doubled from 13,700 to 27,400.

"We welcome Mr Abbott's indication over the weekend that Australia is to do more. The government is right to give priority to persecuted religious minorities. However, the magnitude of this crisis demands a more substantial act of generosity.

"The increase in the number of Syrian refugees is to be within the existing cap," Mr Shelton said.

"But this is the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War II and such a response is inadequate.

"We recognise that Australia can't solve this crisis but it can shoulder more of the burden, given that we are a wealthy country with capacity, particularly in regional areas."

In response to the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities by Islamic State, more than 20,000 ACL supporters last year signed a petition urging the government to increase the refugee intake.

Earlier this year, ACL backed calls by former immigration minister Philip Ruddock and Labor's chief whip Chris Hayes for the government to consider a "Kosovo-style solution" where people were brought to Australia until it was safe to go home.

"This crisis did not start with a boy being washed up on a beach. Away from the television cameras, people have been suffering for years and our response as a nation has been inadequate," Mr Shelton said.