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Advocacy against changes to the Status Resolution Support Services

Advocacy against changes to the Status Resolution Support Services

27 July 2018

The City of Greater Dandenong has taken a leading role in advocating against recent federal government changes to the eligibility criteria for the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) for people seeking asylum.

In Greater Dandenong, we have almost 2,000 people seeking asylum in the community awaiting a decision. The majority will be affected by these changes to the SRSS program and these people will continue to face significant challenges in finding employment. Loss of income and case management support will be accentuated by the uncertainty of their status in Australia, language and cultural barriers, and the effects of torture and trauma.

What Council is doing

Council is extremely concerned about this situation and has proactively undertaken the following advocacy activities:

  • Mayoral letters to the Prime Minister and Federal Minister of Home Affairs highlighting the social impacts of the change and asking for a reversal of the change.
  • Mayoral letters to local State and Federal lower house members of Parliament and Victorian Senators and State Upper House MP’s informing them of Council’s position.
  • Correspondence with agencies and community groups assisting people seeking asylum in Greater Dandenong, the Refugee Council of Australia and the Australian Council of Social Service to inform them of Council’s position and its support of the alliance of community organisations.
  • A media release issued outlining Greater Dandenong’s position.
  • Correspondence by Cr Roz Blades to every Federal Member of Parliament informing them of Council’s concern over cuts to SRSS.
  • A Council’s delegation of five councillors to advocate with selected Federal ministers and ministerial secretaries during the National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra.
  • Council has invited mayors from every Victorian municipality to a Mayoral Roundtable at Dandenong on 31 July 2018. Aim for Councils to consider a joint advocacy statement to the Federal Government and to jointly formulate options for further combined advocacy.
  • Support of the Community Summit on 10 August 2018 to inform and brainstorm ideas with strategic leaders of organisations to reduce the impact of the SRSS changes.

Further planned advocacy

  • Mayoral letters to community organisations.
  • Interfaith Network and faith groups explaining current situation and providing an advocacy letter template and supporting case studies. 
  • Mayoral letters and case studies to State and Federal MP’s and to the Ministerial Advisor of the Federal Minister for Home Affairs.

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