Councils launch campaign to support Asylum Seekers and oppose financial cuts
03 December 2018
The City of Greater Dandenong is leading a campaign to have financial and support services reinstated for asylum seekers.
The Back Your Neighbour Campaign, which was launched today has seen 22 Councils band together to ensure people who have fled persecution do not end up suffering homelessness or destitution as a result of the Federal Government cuts.
Council has been strongly advocating against the cuts since July when it first held a Mayoral Roundtable on the issue in Dandenong.
This roundtable was attended by 18 Councils from across Victoria, the Refugee Council of Australia, Monash Health and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and led to a Mayoral Taskforce being established.
Today’s launch symbolised a unified approach and involved Councils from NSW and Victoria, together with community ambassadors and advocates.
Last year the Australian Government reduced the number of people eligible for support through its Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) – a program which provides only 89 per cent of the New Start Living Allowance. This equates to $35 per day.
Further changes came into effect in June this year where the majority of people seeking asylum were advised that they will lose this income if assessed as work ready, even if they don’t have a job to go to.
Greater Dandenong Mayor Councillor Roz Blades and Chairperson of the Local Government Mayor Taskforce said the Back Your Neighbour Campaign called on all Australians to take a stand and demonstrate a powerful show of support for people seeking asylum and refugees.
“Today we are calling on every Australian to get behind our campaign Back Your Neighbour, Back Your Mate, Back Your Colleague and back people arriving in our communities fleeing war and persecution,” she said.
“Since World War II, Australia has welcomed more than 800,000 people who have fled war and persecution.
“These people have contributed to our communities and our country on every level, from our culture to our sporting traditions, from medicine to the law, from science and research to our global reputation for excellence in the culinary arts, “Mayor Blades said.
Mayor Blades said the cuts were totally out of step with community expectations.
“We are all very concerned for the welfare of people seeking asylum and the impact these changes will have, not only financially, but also on their health and wellbeing.”
“We are calling on Australians to tell the Federal Government that we don’t need to cut the SRSS program. We don’t need to put many people – who might otherwise become our doctors, nurses, lawyers, colleagues, friends and neighbours – out on the streets.”
The City of Greater Dandenong currently has almost 2000 people seeking asylum in the local community and it is anticipated these changes will affect the vast majority of them, including children, families and single adults.