5 Jan 2006

Call for Australia to accept so-called climate change refugees

9:15 am on 5 January 2006

The Australian Labor Party says the country should bring together partners to accept refugees forced from Pacific Islands by climate change.

The Melbourne Age newspaper reports that in a policy paper to be launched today, the party says Australia should help countries move their residents to higher ground when needed.

The climate spokesman Bob Sercombe says as populations are displaced and food supplies become scarce, the resulting upheaval could become very serious for the region.

Internal resettlement programmes have recently begun in Vanuatu and the Carteret Atolls in Papua New Guinea.

The Red Cross in Tuvalu is currently surveying the population's health needs, in a study prompted by the threat of rising sea levels.