Today I join Australian humanitarian agencies in launching a four-week joint appeal to raise funds for those affected by the violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar.

In my discussion yesterday with the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, we noted that more than 600,000 Rohingya, mostly women and children, have fled into Bangladesh from Myanmar since 25 August.

Humanitarian agencies are playing a critical role in the international response. United Nations agencies, NGOs and the Red Cross are responding to urgent needs by providing life-saving food and nutrition, clean water, sanitation, shelter, health care and trauma counselling.

The Federal Government will match public donations of up to $5 million to Australian Red Cross and Australia for UNHCR. This commitment is part of the $30 million contribution the Government has made since September in response to the crisis in Bangladesh and Myanmar. Our contribution also includes funding for Australian NGOs that are responding to the crisis through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership.

The ABC is supporting the appeal and donations can be made through their website at

I urge the Australian public and businesses to give generously. Your support will help to deliver life-saving assistance to those caught up in this crisis.

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