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Newsletter for 5 June 2018 Rural Australians for Refugees Bellingen and Nambucca Districts

Roadside demonstration report
Market report
Fundraising concert : Reaching Out. Sunday 10th June at 2.00 pm
Where does all our money go?
Asylum seekers set to lose their meagre benefits 

Roadside demonstration report

There were just three of us at last week’s roadside demonstration in Toormina, so we were not as visible as we normally are. That said, we received overwhelmingly supportive responses from passing motorists and we thought that our efforts were worthwhile. We’ll review the situation  when we next hold a general get-together, but in the meantime if anyone has any thoughts on how we might be more effective in getting our message across, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Our next roadside demonstration will be on Thursday 14th June by The Big Banana in Coffs Harbour from 2.30 to 4.00 pm. Please join us if you can.

Market report

A big thank you to all our supporters who turned up to the Valla Beach market on Saturday
 to lend a hand. We had a busy and productive morning, handing out leaflets, talking to market-goers, collecting signatures and selling our merchandise. And of course, having a good chat amongst friends! 
Our next market stall will be at the Coffs Harbourside market on Sunday 17th June from 9.00 am until 1.30 pm. If you can help out for an hour or two, then please email Mike at

Fundraising concert : Reaching Out. Sunday 10th June at 2.00 pm

A final reminder that our concert is coming up on Sunday in the main hall of the Nambucca Community and Arts Centre on Ridge Street, Nambucca Heads, starting at 2.00 pm. If you haven’t yet purchased your tickets, these are available from Helloworld Travel in Nambucca Heads and The Alternative Bookshop in Bellingen. Alternatively, you can reserve your tickets, for collection at the door, by phoning Marlene on 6569 5419. You can check the location of the hall by visiting the website at:
A big thank you to all  who have volunteered to help on the day or who have kindly donated raffle prizes. If any supporters could bring a plate of sandwiches or cake for the interval refreshments, this would be greatly appreciated. Our plan is to keep costs to a minimum, so that we can maximize the donation to the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown.
At this point, we are thinking that we will try to sell the Wendy Sharpe painting via a sealed bids auction. More details on the day.

Where does all our money go?

From time to time, market-goers ask us what we do with the money that we raise. Since we opened our RAR bank account in August 2014, we have made the following donations:
Children Out of Detention: $3315
Refugee Advice and Casework Services: $4200
Asylum Seekers Centre: $3650
In addition, we raised approximately $700 to pay the fares from Sydney for an Iranian family who spent five days with us in 2017.
Total: $11,865
We expect to raise a four-figure sum at the concert next weekend.

Asylum seekers set to lose their meagre benefits

The Department of Home Affairs announced some months ago that asylum seekers awaiting the outcome of their claims for protection under the Refugee Convention would face tougher eligibility criteria to access benefits. Currently, this cohort of some 12,500 people receive some $250 per week, together with access to a case worker and to trauma and torture counselling. Some single asylum seekers have already lost these benefits and are now reliant on the generosity of their communities, refugee organisations, faith groups and other charities, as they try to find work. As of yesterday, 4th June, thousands of asylum seeker families, including many children, will be told that they will have just days to find themselves new accommodation and find a job. They will lose their benefits and will no longer have access to a caseworker or a counsellor. Of course, asylum seekers want to find work, if they are medically fit to do so -  though many of them are not, as a result of their terrifying experiences. Finding a job, when you have just a temporary, short-term visa, and limited English skills, is not an easy task. We have produced a leaflet about this cruel policy change, which we distributed at the market on Saturday and which will be available to concert-goers next weekend.

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