Wyndham pleads for refugee help

Wyndham City Mayor Cr Josh Gilligan is one of 38 mayors across Australia who signed an open letter today, calling on the Federal Government to extend crucial support to people seeking asylum affected by COVID-19.

The letter outlines key concerns for people seeking asylum who have lost work as a result of COVID-19 and remain ineligible for income support programs and – in some instances – Medicare.

Cultural Diversity portfolio holder Cr Henry Barlow said many of the areas represented in the open letter are home to large populations of people seeking asylum, and local councils are seeing the full impact of the lack of support being offered by the Federal Government.

“In 2019, Wyndham had 372 new residents who arrived on humanitarian visas and they are experiencing the full economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Cr Barlow said.

“These residents are not eligible for JobSeeker or JobKeeper payments and casual work for these migrants has dried up due to the pandemic.”

“They are surviving on the kindness of charities, community member and community groups.”

“Many of these groups are under enormous pressure with the influx of new clients due to the pandemic, so we need the Federal Government to offer more financial aid to these residents urgently.”

“These new migrants have suffered enough in their own countries and we should be doing all in our power to offer them a basic standard of living in Australia while they await the outcome of their visa.”

“I thank our Mayor Cr Josh Gilligan for signing the letter to highlight the need for the Federal Government to offer JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments to our refugees who are struggling to survive at the moment.”

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