The Turnbull government has forced vulnerable people seeking asylum in Australia into poverty by denying many the right to work, barred people from studying and then put them at risk of homelessness by cutting income support and access to health care.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection has now issued a notice to people seeking asylum living in Australia with a policy restriction on pet ownership.
Anyone receiving ‘status resolution support payments’ while they wait for their application process must now put in an official application for permission to own a pet. The Department will then decide if they can own a dog, cat or even a gold fish and will not support them financially to look after pet health.
While every Australian has the freedom to own a pet and enjoy wonderful human benefits of having an animal’s companionship, people seeking asylum are now denied this basic freedom in Australia.
ASRC Director of Advocacy and Campaigns, Jana Favero said “There are 50 people, including two pregnant women waiting for medical treatment transfers on Manus and Nauru, there are over 10,000 people’s applications for protection awaiting processing, and the Department decides to waste time and resources on this new cruelty of restricting pet ownership’.
“While the Victorian Government recently announced that every tenant in Victoria will have the right to have a pet in their rental property the Department of Immigration and Border Protection removes this right for people seeking asylum.” Jana said.
The notice states that people will need to get permission from their landlords as well as the Department.
“This is another terrifying display of arbitrary powers to decide the rights of people seeking asylum, this time their freedom to own a pet and the ability to take of care of their pet’s health’.
‘This is ridiculous; I can’t even guess what they will try next’. Jana said.
Veterinarian at Best Mates charity vet clinic Jason Rapke said, “For people struggling in life, especially those with few family and friends, their pets can be a huge source of support and motivation.”
“Many pets lie waiting in shelters and too many end up being euthanized. People on low incomes often make sacrifices in order to be able to care for their pets and low income alone is but one of many considerations in determining responsible pet ownership.” Jason said.
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