Christensen vows to keep Syrian refugees out of Mackay

MEMBER for Dawson George Christensen has put refugees on the agenda with claims of rumours being spread on refugees being settled near Sarina.

The Member for Dawson has maintained a firm stance against any refugee intake for sound economic reasons, and wanted to allay community fears about such a proposal. 

"I have made my position on the intake of any refugees into the Mackay region very clear; there simply aren't enough jobs to go round at present, so we are not in a position to take in refugees," Mr Christensen said.

"That said, it must be noted that the Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert has been vocal in her support for a refugee intake, and this may well have fanned community concerns.

"For that reason, I am calling on the Labor candidate for Dawson, Mrs Gilbert's husband, to allay such fears and reassure the residents of the Mackay region that he will stick up for their jobs, rather than advocate for more potential jobseekers to enter the market."

Mr Christensen said his office had been approached by a number of people with concerns about an influx of Syrian refugees to the area, and the rumour was that an accommodation facility at Jilalan was being prepared for them.

"I contacted the Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs Craig Laundy to establish the facts and put an end to these rumours once and for all,"Mr Christensen said.

"The minister has ruled it out." 

Mr Christensen said he had conducted a Facebook poll in September last year to gauge community sentiment on the issue and said between 75 - 86% of respondents were against the idea.

Labor candidate for Dawson Frank Gilbert said the whole thing from Mr Christensen is a bit of a furphy.

"He is challenging me?," Mr Gilbert said.

"It was his own government under long time friend Tony Abbott that bought the refugees here.

"I want to issue a challenge to Mr Christensen.  I've got Bill Shorten committing to $35 million in extra funding to schools to be spent in 2017 - 2018."

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