A Message To Our Community | ASRC Statement
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is committed to our future as a strong, impactful and independent human rights organisation that continues to create a fairer and more welcoming Australia together with people seeking asylum. Our purpose and the rights and needs of people seeking asylum will continue to be our primary focus and priority at all times in everything we do. We are here to stay for the long-term as the need for our organisation has never been stronger or greater, we are going nowhere.
As you know we have been through some difficult financial times of late (due to cost of living pressures) that led to us almost closing our doors due to a 45% drop in giving this financial year. It was only due to the generosity of the public through our Save the ASRC Appeal that we were saved, with $5.1 million being donated to meet our funding shortfall for this financial year.
We have since had to make some very tough decisions and I want to transparently share with you why. We know you saved us with the fair expectation that going forward we would make the necessary tough decisions to never be here again. You told us we were too important to close our doors and that we needed to be realistic around what we could fundraise and to live within our means. Rest assured the difficult measures we have taken recently are necessary to ensure this.
To ensure our longer-term sustainability we have reduced our overall annual budget by 30%. In this process, we have preserved critical frontline services, our independence and advocacy, and we will continue to invest in supporting refugee communities. We have achieved these savings by redesigning our organisational structure and ways of working. We want you to know we have done this with care and consultation with our incredible workforce, in line with our current strategic plan and with the best interests of the refugee community we serve.
We have made these hard decisions with a very heavy heart, as all we do at the ASRC is about caring for people and our community. Having to say goodbye to much loved and respected team members is painful for everyone here but we have no choice. We will wrap around all the support we can for staff impacted by these necessary changes and our remaining team, while ensuring we continue to do our best to serve the community we exist for. We will stay true to our values and remain transparent and open with the community.
Ultimately, we need to do what is best for the community we serve and that is to ensure an ASRC that is sustainable into the future. We have thousands of families, most with no income, access to Medicare or the right to work, who depend on us still being here.
Going forward we will remain true to our purpose and our strategic vision and plan: an impactful independent voice for change; a critical frontline service tackling systemic poverty, food, health and housing insecurity; supporting refugee leadership and capability; and being part of a movement for much needed systemic change.
In the coming months, as part of our commitment to ongoing transparency, we will share publicly our plan for the future ASRC – from our long term sustainability plan to our vision for how we will continue to strengthen our impact and support for people seeking asylum and refugee communities, and we hope to do this with your continued support.
Kon Karapanagiotidis OAM
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
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