Save the ASRC update: we are keeping our doors open | ASRC Statement

Update: March 1 2023

When we launched the Save the ASRC public appeal on 9 February 2023, just three weeks ago, we were afraid that the 7 weeks we had to turn things around was not going to be long enough to keep our doors open. Not because people had stopped caring, or thought our work was done, just that it’s such tough economic times. 

What came next was something unforgettable. The Australian public rallied like never before to donate over $5.1m and save us from closing our doors within only three weeks.

Over 22,500 people made a donation to keep our doors open. From refugees, to young people, pensioners, families, people from all walks of life across Australia to small and large businesses, philanthropic foundations and philanthropists to community groups.

This means we are now able to close our emergency appeal as of today and focus on ensuring our operational sustainability into the future, as our job is not done yet. As long as refugees rights are denied, there is still a vital need for organisations such as the ASRC. 

While the demand on our frontline services continues to increase, we still must be of a size that is sustainable in these tough economic times. We doubled in size during the pandemic to meet unprecedented needs and that is simply not sustainable. We will now begin the hard work of reviewing our size, our working models, exploring any and all efficiencies, all with the aim of resetting the ASRC to continue delivering our important work while ensuring our future existence. We can now focus our energy on this plan and we will share this with full transparency in the coming months.

We have full confidence that we will remain a fearless and independent voice, a movement of change with refugees and still a critical frontline service. All our decisions will – as always – be driven by what people seeking asylum want and need us to prioritise and we will ensure the voices of our people and community are heard. 

We have been humbled beyond belief at the depth of kindness from our community. It has been the power of community and compassion in action that has been there in our time of need. 

Again, on behalf of everyone at the ASRC, we thank the thousands of donors for keeping our doors open. We promise to continue to be the light on the hill of hope and a voice for justice with refugees.

— Initial statement released: February 10 2023 —

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is currently running an appeal calling for urgent support as the organisation’s savings are currently sufficient for 7 weeks. Despite maintaining operational budget commitments, a reduction in donations, the rising cost of living and the continued independence from Federal Government funding has had a significant impact.  

People have a right to housing, food, medicine, lawyers, education and employment, even when this is denied by the Government. That is why ASRC for the past 21 years has stood with refugees to expose the cruelty and help people rebuild, currently supporting thousands of people seeking asylum.

However, 97% of people seeking asylum in Australia have no access to integral social support systems, including income, housing as well as educational assistance and legal aid.

The expectations of change and the rising cost of living have seen support from the community rapidly decline, to the point where we are at risk of closing our doors. 

Kon Karapanagiotidis CEO and founder of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, said: “For 21 years we have been standing with people seeking asylum and exposing the cruelty of our nation’s inhumane refugee policies. 

Despite sticking to our budgets, cost of living and inflationary pressures means public donations are down 45% since July 2022. Despite a number of interventions, such as reducing our workforce by 10% in August last year, our savings are running out and we have just six weeks to save the ASRC from stopping to deliver critical services. 

We are asking the community to help save a movement of hope, welcome and compassion. We are asking people to do what they can. Every bit absolutely counts. We still have work to do. There are thousands and thousands of people seeking asylum who have been denied their basic rights by Governments that seek to dehumanise and harm. The compassion, care and humanity shown by the community are often a much-needed last resort for people resisting such cruelty. Please help us keep our doors open.”

— ENDS —

Media contact: Sam Brennan

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