Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has commended the Government's decision to provide an extra 16,500 places for Afghan refugees, after repeated representations from church leaders.

The budget, announced yesterday, provides the extra places above the capped humanitarian program. It is the most substantial increase since 2015 when, amid the crisis in Syria and Iraq, the Government announced an extra 12,000 places over two years.  

In recent weeks, a delegation of church leaders, including the Bishop of North Sydney Chris Edwards representing the Archbishop, visited Canberra to lobby for an additional 20,000 places. Last week, Anglican bishops also wrote to the Prime Minister and the Immigration Minister Alex Hawke last week to press the case for a special intake.    

"I’m delighted the Government has provided a substantial and generous way to offer an extra 16500 places for Afghan refugees," Archbishop Raffel wrote on Twitter. "This will make Australians glad. I commend the Government and thank the Prime Minister for his leadership in this way. We look forward to welcoming them."