Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) provide less than $35 a day and access to health services for people to meet basic needs as they go through the process of seeking asylum.
Around 13,000 people living across Australia receive SRSS, including single people and families caring for young children and the elderly, enbaling them to meet basic needs of food, rent and medical treatment.
The Department first announced that people would be cut off support services from 4 June. The mass roll out of cuts was then delayed for indefinite weeks, and different timelines again announced today.
From today around 1500 men and women waiting for protection applications will lose the only safety net they have. People will be notified by DHS via a letter and given four weeks’ notice that their support will stop.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) and refugee service organisations were given no notice of the new roll out date, with thousands of people seeking asylum turning to our services as they face homelessness, food insecurity and removed access to medication and trauma and torture counselling.
We understand that the following time frame now applies to the roll out of cuts:
From 27 June: 1500 people notified of cuts to their support
From 27 July: income support stops for 1500
From 1 August-November: next group of 5500 people who are part of a family notified of cuts to their support.
The ASRC was one of ten organisations who formed a sector delegation to Canberra last Monday, 18 June to brief Members of Parliament, including Minster Peter Dutton on the impacts of the cuts on the sector and affected people seeking asylum.
Kon Karapanagiotidis, ASRC CEO said, “I was so proud last week to stand together united as a refugee sector in our meeting with Minister Dutton. We went pleading for mercy, warning him of the humanitarian catastrophe these cuts would unleash on people in our communities.”
“Our pleas for fairness and decency were not considered. This is a tragedy for the families, women, children and men who will now be forced onto the streets”, Kon said.
Along with sector partners nationally, the ASRC is already feeling the pressure and seeing the human impact of the cuts.
Sherrine Clark, Director of Humanitarian Services said, “For the first time in our 17 year history, we have acquired sleeping bags for people to use if they need to sleep rough as the demand for our housing program skyrockets. We can’t meet the demand, and I am appalled to have to see families with children sleeping rough.”
The Department will notify people who are currently receiving SRSS that they have work rights and 30 days to find a job, and then their support will be cut off even if they are still unemployed.
Jana Favero, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns said, “Early intervention and support while people navigate the job market is standard practice in Australia. It defies reason that the Turnbull Government is expecting people to find a job, many who have been prohibited from working for many years, within 4 weeks and with no support to do so.”
The ASRC joins the call from the Refugee Council of Australia to restore access to support services for all people seeking asylum.Leave a reply →