Jesuit Refugee Service Australia has welcomed the recent announcement by the New South Wales Government to extend by six months crucial financial support for people seeking asylum.
JRS Australia has called on the Albanese Government to take swift steps to ensure that people seeking asylum have access to a financial safety net to avert ongoing destitution.
NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure announced that $3.65 million will be provided until the end of June 2023 to enable frontline organisations, including JRS Australia, to continue providing emergency assistance to people who need help to pay rent, buy food and medicines as they await the outcome of their protection visa applications.
But JRS Australia says the federal Government must also ensure that people in acutely vulnerable circumstances are not left facing ongoing food insecurity, homelessness and destitution.
The Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS), which has provided basic assistance to people seeking asylum, has dramatically tightened its eligibility criteria in recent years, making it prohibitively difficult for many people in need to access support.
JRS Australia called on the federal Government to urgently revise the eligibility rules for SRSS to ensure that the program is responsive to those most at-risk and confronting situations of vulnerability.
“We thank the New South Wales Government for extending critical support for people seeking asylum who are experiencing acute need, in response to a dire situation at a time of great uncertainty,” said Tamara Domicelj, JRS Australia country director. “Now is the time for the federal Government to ensure that the SRSS program can actually deliver critical support to people seeking asylum in Australia, in a more predictable and inclusive manner.”