Monash is among 22 councils across Australia, representing more than 2.7 million people, that have come together to try to ensure that people who have fled persecution do not suffer homelessness and destitution as a result of federal government cutbacks.
Monash locals are being urged to back their neighbours, their mates, and their coworkers in a new campaign aimed at reversing, modifying or slowing cuts to a federal government scheme that has helped thousands of people transition to new lives, into jobs and to become key members of communities across Australia.
Earlier this year, the federal government outlined a plan to cut support from up to 7,000 people who had come to Australia fleeing war and persecution.
The scheme provides payments to asylum seekers living in the Australian community while the federal government finalises their protection claim. It provides a living allowance – usually 89 per cent of the Newstart allowance, or $247 per week per single adult – along with casework support and access to trauma counselling.
The Local Government Mayoral Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum is coordinating the campaign. Chairperson Cr Roz Blades said:
“Since World War II, Australia has welcomed more than 800,000 people who’ve 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.
“The cuts to the support program are out of step with community expectations.
“In the wake of the shock election result in Victoria, we call on all Federal MPs – Labor, Nationals, Liberals, Greens, minor parties and independents – to impress on their colleagues the need to reverse these unnecessary and cruel cuts.
Monash Mayor Shane McCluskey said people who have fled persecution and war are our neighbours and friends, our lawyers and our doctors, our nurses and our baristas, our scientists and our surgeons, our life savers and our chefs. And often they are our family members.
“That is why 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.
“We are calling on Australians to tell the Federal Government that we don’t need to cut the SRSS program, that we don’t need to put many people – who might otherwise become our doctors, nurses, lawyers, colleagues, friends and neighbours – out on the streets”, Cr McCluskey said.
Go to: backyourneighbour.com.au or facebook.com/backyourneighbour to join the campaign.
The Mayoral Taskforce includes:
Councils involved as Executive Members
Executive Members meet monthly and act as a steering group for the Taskforce.
- Brimbank City Council
- City of Darebin
- City of Greater Dandenong
- City of Monash
- Hobsons Bay City Council
- Moreland City Council
- Yarra City Council
Councils involved as General Members
General Members get consulted on Taskforce direction, take an active role in Taskforce activities and contribute resources to the Taskforce.
- Banyule City Council
- Cardinia Shire Council
- City of Ballarat
- City of Port Phillip
- City of Whittlesea
- Hawkesbury City Council (NSW)
- Maribynong City Council
- Moonee Valley City Council
- Wyndham City Council
- City of Hume
- City of Wagga Wagga (NSW)
Councils involved as supporters
- City of Freemantle (WA)
- City Stonnington
- City of Bathurst (NSW)
- Georges River Council
Total population of Taskforce councils: 2,788,333 (Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics)
About the cuts
People who flee war or persecution and arrive in Australia can be placed on the status resolution support services (SRSS) payment while the Federal Government decides on their claim for protection.
SRSS provides a living allowance – usually 89 per cent of the Newstart allowance, or $247 per week (about $35 a day) – casework support and access to torture and trauma counselling.
Earlier this year, the Federal Government announced it would cut access to the payment for up to 7000 people who had fled war and persecution.
The Department of Home Affairs has said people on the payment who studied full-time will have their support cut.
Contact: Emily Webb 0466 026 560 or email Emily.Webb@monash.vic.gov.au