Thousands of people who have fled conflict and persecution seeking protection in Australia will have their only source of income cut, leaving many desperate and destitute.
The Federal Government’s Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) program provides income support (about 89% of Newstart allowance; just over $450 p/fortnight for a single person), case management, and other supports for those seeking a protection visa who are in financial hardship. The current changes to eligibility include:
- ceasing all SRSS support to people seeking asylum who study full-time, including English and/or gaining qualifications/skills to obtain work
- ceasing all SRSS support to people seeking asylum who have sent any funds overseas in the last 12 months
- requiring a higher threshold of proof from people seeking asylum who have a disability or health issue, than others applying for a disability pension.
“It’s a month since the changes were rolled out and we are starting to see the impact on the people we support,” says Cheryl Webster, Anglicare Migrant and Refugee Services worker.
“The changes are pushing an already vulnerable group into further hardship. They are limiting opportunities to build resilience and financial independence. These policies are counterproductive if Australia wants to harness the skills and potential that these people have to offer.”
St John’s Balmain are inviting the community to assist with donating vital food and hygiene items to build the stock for Anglicare’s Community Pantry assists people who are struggling financially.
“We started the food drive to assist people who will be impacted by these changes,” explains Father Peter Yeats, St John’s Parish Rector.
“We believe God calls us to help the foreigner and those in need. We hope this food drive will help build awareness of the issues faced by many people who’ve fled conflict and persecution, and are currently seeking protection in Australia. "
Food collections will be accepted throughout May at St John’s Anglican Church (corner of Spring Street and Birchgrove Road) every day from 8.00am to 2.30pm. Donations can be placed in the porch or, weather permitting, our collection table on the corner of Spring Street.
The community at St John’s is keen to show support and encourage others to assist us in providing assistance to those who are struggling financially.
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