Asylum seeker jobs plan

TASMANIAN businesses would be given financial incentives to employ asylum seekers under a $5.4 million policy put forward by the Greens.

The policy is contingent on a series of drastic shifts at the federal level - such as closing Manus Island detention centre, returning to onshore processing, re-opening Pontville, allowing a 30-day processing time and allowing asylum seekers to work while on bridging visas.

There is no indication either the federal government or the federal Labor Party are considering such a policy shift.

However Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim said Tasmania should be ready to welcome asylum seekers should the national framework change.

"Anything where Tasmania can step up and show leadership, whether it be completing the rollout of fibre optics to the premises here in Tasmania or getting ready and investing in people, and investing in treating asylum seekers humanely and getting ready for the inevitable day when the Manus Island hellhole is finally shut down, is absolutely a legitimate policy position," Mr McKim said.

The policy includes $1.5 million in payroll tax exemptions, $1 million in other employment incentives and $1.5 million over four years to boost the budget of the Migrant Resource Centre assistance programs.

Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support spokeswoman Clarissa Adriel said the policy was a "creative step forward".

Ms Adriel said Tasmanians had been more welcoming and compassionate toward asylum seekers than other states.

She said incentives for hiring asylum seekers would not necessarily impact on Tasmanian jobseekers because the kind of jobs they would be eligible for are not highly sought after.

Denison Labor MHA Scott Bacon said asylum policy was a federal issue.


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