MAKING Tasmania an asylum seeker haven would be a major economic boost and show compassion to others, says Greens leader Nick McKim.
Mr McKim again backed a suggestion from human rights lawyer Julian Burnside that asylum seekers be allowed to live in the Tasmanian community, instead of detention centres around Australia and overseas.
``It would be a big boost for the state, creating jobs and economic activity while allowing Tasmanians to showcase the compassion and generosity that are core values of our people,'' Mr McKim said.
``Opening our hearts and our community to asylum seekers would show governments all over the world that there is a workable alternative to simply locking up people who are guilty of nothing more than seeking a better life for themselves and their families.''
He said the proposal would need federal government support and funding and the Greens would consider how to advance the proposal at a party meeting tomorrow.
Mr McKim, who is the Education Minister, said hundreds of young asylum seekers at the Pontville detention centre, near Hobart, were being educated in government schools.
Brighton Mayor Tony Foster, whose municipality includes Pontville, also backed the plan.
He said Tasmania had high unemployment so it made sense to spend the millions of dollars here that was now spent in Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea on detention centres.
He said Tasmanians were historically big-hearted and ``if it was going to work anywhere in Australia, it would work in Tasmania''.
A spokesman for Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, the state's senior Liberal senator, would not comment on the matter and Opposition Leader Will Hodgman does not support the idea.
Premier Lara Giddings has said she did not support detention centres but the idea would have to be considered by the community.
Unions Tasmania secretary Kevin Harkins backed the idea, and urged the state Labor party to seriously consider it.