HOW FEDERAL CUTS TO SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE SEEKING ASYLUM WILL AFFECT PEOPLE, STATES AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES

Key Issues:

  • Before the end of June 2018, the Federal Department of Home Affairs plans to drastically cut support to people seeking asylum. This is likely to leave more than 7,500 people hungry and homeless, most of them living in the suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne.
  • The Department is changing the eligibility to its Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS), saying that it plans to reduce the number of people seeking assistance through the program to fewer than 5,000. As at 28 February 2018, 13,299 people were receiving this support.
  • Pregnant women, families with young children and survivors of torture who will not meet the heightened vulnerability criteria set by the Department will be left without any form of income to pay rent, pay for prescriptions, or even get enough food for each day.
  • It is counterproductive to force people into being homeless and hungry when most are likely to be in Australia for the long-term. Past statistics demonstrate that at least 70% of people who arrived by boat were found to be in need of refugee protection and remained in Australia.
  • States, local communities, and charities will bear the brunt of the consequences of these cruel changes: overstretched agencies will see an increase in people seeking emergency relief for food, clothing, blankets, and support to pay rent. Hospitals will likely see more people coming through heir emergency room doors as they are not able to afford their medications. Homelessness services will see more people – including families with young children – waiting on their doorsteps for help, as they will have no other options.

Read more: Impact of SRSS Changes May2018 from RCOA