Refugee Council MR – Govt cuts to SRSS (June 2018) (Full Statement can be read here)
27th June 2018_Media Release
Today, the Department of Home Affairs will begin a staggered exit of around 1500 people seeking asylum from the lifesaving Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS). The news comes despite warnings that these cuts could result in thousands of vulnerable people being pushed into destitution and homelessness.
The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is alarmed by this move and is calling on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to immediately put an end to this cruel, inhuman and illogical policy.
“We have already seen the impact of cuts to SRSS with a significant increase in demand for our services, particularly housing, food and employment services. It’s common sense that in order for people to find a job they need support and somewhere to live. These cuts mean men, women and children will be left homeless and destitute. It’s incomprehensive, unnecessary and inhumane,” Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Jana Favero said.
This is only the beginning of a range of cuts to the SRSS, which is expected to affect another 5500 people in the next few months across Australia, including families with young children and pregnant mothers.
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS Australia), Jesuit Social Services and the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA), jointly declare that people seeking asylum:
- Be issued bridging visas with study and work rights, Medicare, and access to SRSS, including where cases are being reviewed by the court system.
- Be supported to find legal and sustainable employment through culturally appropriate, specialist employment support services.
- Be provided with income support whilst they are looking for work or studying.
- Be exempt from searching for employment, if assessed by independent healthcare professionals as unfit to work, as in standard practice across the welfare system.
‘People who would be affected include fathers, mothers, young people and children who are part of our schools, our workplaces, and our communities,” said Mr Power.
“It is appalling the government is wanting to cut people off income support entirely. What are people meant to do with no income at all? How can they feed and get their children to school?” says Dr Goldie.
The foundational principle of the campaign Dignity NOT Destitution 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.