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Thursday, 14 June 2018 11:32

Churches work together on asylum seeker support campaign

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Refugee campainAs National Refugee Week approaches (June 17-23), the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, a group supported by many Religious, is urging people to support its ‘Dignity NOT Destitution’ campaign against government changes to asylum seeker support services.

The foundational principle of the campaign is the belief that no person lawfully residing in Australia should be forced into destitution through the removal of access to financial and housing supports.

Up to 12,000 people seeking asylum in Australia may be at risk of losing core services and financial support due to Government changes in the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS). Charities are already struggling to support destitute asylum seekers, but this level of destitution will be unprecedented.

The SRSS is a regular payment to help with basic living costs for those who live in Australia and are waiting for a decision about their immigration status. The current SRSS program has different levels of support (‘bands’), depending on the circumstances of the person on the program.

“In the past six months this program has been drastically reduced leaving many people with no form of financial or service assistance,” ACRT says on its website.

“Charities and food banks around the country have reported a significant increase in the presentation of people seeking asylum who are destitute as a result of the reduction of services.

“ACRT will join the Refugee Council of Australia, the ASRC and others to campaign for the restoration of key support services for asylum seekers in the belief that no person lawfully residing in Australia should be forced into destitution through the removal of access to financial and housing supports.”

The Taskforce’s website outlines a range of ways that people can get involved in the campaign.

IMAGE: From the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce website.