List of Recommendations

Recommendation 1

The committee recommends that an assessment of Australia’s whole-of-government mission in Afghanistan be commissioned and conducted by an appropriate entity, which follows an initial report on the 2001–2014 period which was released in November 2016.

Recommendation 2

The committee recommends that the Australian Government publish, where there are no national security implications, a breakdown of the total cost of Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan across each year of its engagement, as well as a breakdown of costs across departments. These figures should also include the costs incurred and estimated ongoing costs associated with services provided by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs supporting veterans who served in Afghanistan.

Recommendation 3

The committee recommends that the Australian Government commission an independent review into the operation of the Afghanistan evacuation effort to ensure that departmental practices and coordination are improved in future. This review should include consideration of:
the operation of the Australian Government Plan for the Reception of Australian Citizens and Approved Foreign Nationals Evacuated from Overseas (AUSRECEPLAN) and other relevant crisis management tools during the Afghanistan crisis, and whether amendments to these frameworks are required;
protocols for the issuance of short-term humanitarian visas during crisis situations;
the need for increased surge capacity staffing in relevant departments to assist in communications and visa processing during crisis situations; and
the development of formalised protocols for incorporating relevant stakeholder groups into government planning and evacuation processes (for example, legal and advocacy groups working with affected groups and individuals in country).

Recommendation 4

The committee recommends that the Australian Government develop and implement more accurate measures and methodologies for assessing and keeping track of the number of Australian citizens, permanent residents, visa holders and visa applicants at risk during crisis situations overseas.

Recommendation 5

The committee recommends that the Australian Government extend all available effort to finalising certifications and visa applications for Afghan Locally Engaged Employees (LEE) and their families as quickly as possible, and extending assistance to those still eligible in Afghanistan to make their way to Australia.
The committee further recommends that the Australian Government commission a full and thorough review of the operation of the Afghan LEE program to analyse and appropriately address concerns raised in evidence to the committee and ensure that programs of this nature are improved.

Recommendation 6

The committee recommends that the Australian Government work with coalition partners and international organisations to support the resettlement of Afghan nationals globally, with Australia making a contribution of places within the humanitarian, family, skilled and other permanent visa categories to help resettle those Afghan nationals displaced by the crisis.

Recommendation 7

The committee recommends that, in light of the changed security circumstances in Afghanistan, the Australian Government review its policies for pathways to permanent protection visas for Afghan asylum seekers and refugees currently in Australia, and prioritise family reunification when processing humanitarian visa claims from Afghan nationals.

Recommendation 8

The committee recommends that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other Australian agencies providing development assistance foster further engagement with local NGOs and diaspora groups which can assist with the provision of aid to the local level and most vulnerable.

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