Budget 2020 abandons people seeking asylum and refugees while service organisations cannot contain the humanitarian crisis.

Media Release

7 October 2020

Budget 2020 abandons people seeking asylum and refugees while service organisations cannot contain the humanitarian crisis.
The Morrison Government’s Budget expands offshore detention, including its Christmas Island facility while cutting Australia’s humanitarian intake cap by one quarter, and continues exclusions and cuts to safety nets.

The Budget is a clear indication of the Government’s preoccupation with punitive and discriminatory asylum policies over sensible action in this economic crisis.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre’s Innovation Hub has consistently found that the more support people get via safety nets and services, the greater their ability to succeed in finding and keeping employment and achieving self-sufficiency.

Yet, thousands of women, men and around 16,000 children are still cut off from any safety net, including JobSeeker and JobKeeper, while people are still being cut off from Status Resolution Support Services including income support, which has been happening since 2018.

Organisations have long warned of the unfolding humanitarian crisis of homelessness and health and asked for Federal Government intervention.

Service organisations and community networks are still bearing the brunt of responsibility as a result of the Government’s ideological refusal to include people in safety nets.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) has seen a 400% increase in people needing emergency relief. The number of people provided food aid per month went from 650 people before COVID19 to 2,650 people.

ASRC’s monthly housing budget went from $67,000 per month pre –COVID19 to $230,000 per month, furthermore we spent $1.58 million on humanitarian assistance in the month of August alone.

The risk of homelessness and destitution is growing as people experience long term unemployment and the crisis will deepen because of this Budget.

ASRC CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis said:

“Australia has a long and proud history of benefitting culturally and economically from humanitarian migrants, yet the Morrison Government continues to ideologically deny, neglect and erase them at every turn and every chance.”

“Thousands of people seeking asylum and refugees have lived and worked in our communities for up to eight years or are detained. All of them have the real potential to contribute to economic recovery with skills and labour, yet this Government wastes the opportunity by indefinitely detaining or impoverishing them.”

ASRC Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Jana Favero said:

“We call on the Morrison Government to stop discriminative policies, including deliberate economic neglect and indefinite detention based on the visa status of thousands of people.”

“The Morrison Government must take urgent action to ease the financial burden on the organisations and community networks providing stop gap emergency relief to contain an overwhelming humanitarian crisis, because we cannot manage this alone.”


Media contact: Marcella Brassett, 0411 026 142

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