The coalition has just announced cuts to income support for people seeking asylum in Australia. The people affected are the most vulnerable people we work with—people who have been transferred to Australia based on medical grounds from offshore detention on Nauru and Manus Island.
It concerns JRS that this is just the next step in a long line of decisions made by the government that puts the most vulnerable people in our community at even greater risk.
We know we only just made a huge ask of you at tax time, however this is an hour of critical need. Without your support these people will sink further into destitution and will be at impending risk of homelessness.
These people are already living in poverty, yet the government has announced that vital fortnightly payments of roughly $200 are to stop immediately. People seeking asylum have been given three weeks to find their own accommodation as well as being told to make arrangements to leave the country.
“The announcement made by the government is incredibly cruel and dehumanising and will send people seeking asylum even further into destitution,” JRS Director Carolina Gottardo said. “The people who have been detained on Nauru and Manus have been imprisoned without committing a crime and their health and mental health has significantly deteriorated leading to their medical transfer to Australia. This includes a number of women who have experienced sexual assault. Given the trauma that people have already experienced the chances of them being able to find work are extremely low.”
While we have not been informed as to how many people will be affected, it’s thought that many as many 400 single people and people in family groups who had been brought to Australia from Nauru and Manus Island for medical treatment, including a woman who may be pregnant, are being called this week to meet immigration officials to be given the news. Their immediate assistance will fall to refugee services like JRS.
There’s already so much panic and fear among people seeking asylum in our communities. This announcement by the government is sending already vulnerable people into further despair and hopelessness.
“You will be expected to support yourself in the community until departing Australia,” the government document states.
It tells people seeking asylum: “If you cannot find work to support yourself in Australia you will need to return to a regional processing country or any country where you have a right of residence.”
What is being forgotten is that these women, men and children seeking asylum have endured great suffering on Nauru and Manus Island, in addition to having had to leave everything—their homes, their jobs their friends—to flee from persecution.
When they finally escaped, and arrived to what they thought was safety in Australia, they were locked up in offshore detention centres for simply pursuing their rights as human beings and in accordance with International Law.
While the Australian government insists that people being processed on Nauru and Manus Island will never be resettled in Australia, they have allowed some single women and men, families with young children, and expectant mothers to come to the Australian mainland for medical treatment. This group of medically evacuated people seeking asylum are some of the most traumatised and the most vulnerable. Yet, they are now being forced into destitution, and worse, possibly risk being sent back to life threatening situations by a government who committed to protect their rights under the Refugee Convention
This is your chance to make a difference to people who have been turned away simply for pursuing their legal right to safety. Indifference to their plight is not an option so please send your generous donation today.