AUSTRALIA will accept up to 20,000 refugees every year from 2012-13 after the Federal Government agreed on Thursday to increase its humanitarian intake for the first time in 30 years.
The increased refugee intake was one of the key recommendations of the Houston panel report on asylum seekers, released last Monday.
It will form part of the package of measures the government has initiated after the six-week stalemate on asylum seekers that ended last week.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the package would include some $10 million to help build and upgrade new and existing offshore detention centres to house asylum seekers.
"This is a more than a 40% increase to our humanitarian intake and the biggest boost to Australia's refugee intake in 30 years," Ms Gillard said. "This increase is targeted to those in most need' those vulnerable people offshore, not those getting on boats."
The move will up Australia's intake by about 40%, from the long-standing maximum of 13,750 people.
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