Luke Foley, the leader of the NSW Opposition party, has been inundated with backlash since his controversial comments that a flood of migrants has induced a "white flight" in Sydney. "I’m particularly concerned about suburbs around Fairfield because they’re carrying just a huge burden when it comes to the refugee intake from Syria and Iraq," Foley said. "Something like three-quarters of the Syrian and Iraqi refugees are settling around Fairfield. It’s all right to come up with a grand gesture of we’ll take 10,000 Syrian or Iraqi refugees but where’s the practical assistance?"
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The mayor of Fairfield Frank Carbone was dismissive of the notion that multiculturalism was at the root of the city's problems. "I think it’s poor to suggest it’s a racial issue," Carbone said. "I don’t think Anglo families are fleeing our cities." Carbone did agree that it was a mistake to push thousands of refugees into areas without providing jobs and infrastructure to support them. "Sydney took 60 percent of the total refugee intake. When you talk about putting 7000 extra people in the one location, that’s like building a new suburb, and there’s a responsibility to put more money into infrastructure, roads, schools and creating job opportunities to do so," Carbone said.
Carbone was also adamant that the city of Fairfield had "always opened its doors" to refugees and multiculturalism but also said there weren't enough resources or jobs to make the city livable for the number of refugees living there. "Fairfield has one of the largest industrial precincts in Australia. The challenge is that those blue collar jobs are no longer there. Refugees could have taken those jobs, once upon a time, but they’re no longer there. That’s the challenge for us," Carbone added.
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He also said he was an advocate for taking in refugees as long as they weren't being dispersed to locations with no jobs. Carbone laid the problem at the government's feet and said they needed to find new ways to provide jobs for the flood of migrants. "This country has given opportunities to more than four million migrants, and we need to continue to be able to provide those opportunities," Carbone said. "If these people were going to a place like Manly, for example, there’d be more opportunities for employment." The Minister said he is working with officials to find solutions to help meet the demand for jobs in areas flooded with migrants.
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