Blue Mountains News

Council Supports Asylum Seekers during COVID-19

By Blue Mountains City Council
Posted: 3 Aug 2020
Council is calling on the Federal Government to support some of the most marginalised in our community by joining a nationwide taskforce to support asylum seekers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Local Government Mayoral Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum has been formed by Australian Councils to co-ordinate advocacy for asylum seekers and refugees.

The group will share resources and practical responses to issues caused by cuts in support services to asylum seekers.

Mayor Cr Mark Greenhill said: “One of the most vulnerable groups of people has been locked out of social and medical assistance at a time when it is needed most.

“Without a safety-net it is not possible for people to protect themselves from infection and self-isolate.

“To prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Federal Government needs to ensure basic support for everyone. This will, in turn, protect the wider community and public health.”

The taskforce is a group of 32 Councils across Australia, formed in 2018, in response to cuts to the Status Resolution Support Services program that left people seeking asylum without access to social care or Medicare.

The taskforce calls on the government to provide extra support for these disadvantaged members of the community, similar to those provided to jobseekers, students and apprentices during the pandemic.

Blue Mountains City Council has joined the taskforce as a General Member and Council wrote a letter in support of this issue, to the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, on 29 May 2020, calling for greater assistance to refugees and those seeking asylum.

At the Ordinary Council Meeting on 27 April, 2004, Council resolved to sign the Refugee Welcome Zone declaration as advocated by the Refugee Council of NSW.

As the peak advocacy body in Australia for refugee communities and the organisations that support them, the aim of the Refugee Council of Australia is to promote humane, flexible and constructive policies towards refugees and asylum seekers.

This declaration was Blue Mountains City Council’s commitment to welcome refugees into our community.

 
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