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Newsletter June 10: Some Good News To Report

You will be aware that many groups across Australia, including ours, have been writing to and lobbying the government about the urgent need to include asylum seekers and others on temporary visas in the various COVID-19 support packages that have been implemented in recent times. To date, the government has remained indifferent to the plight of these vulnerable groups, but thankfully, the NSW government has now stepped in.

In a news release issued on 3rd June, the NSW government announced a $6 million package to support our multicultural communities, including migrants and temporary visa holders. The government acknowledges that these vulnerable people must be given the urgent help that they need.

The Acting Minister for multiculturalism, Geoff Lee, stated:
“The NSW Government is determined to ensure we support our most vulnerable by providing funding for essentials like food and medicine.
Temporary visa holders, including refugees and asylum seekers, have become increasingly vulnerable during COVID-19 and they don’t qualify for any of the support packages announced by the Commonwealth Government.”

The funding will be distributed by specialist migrant and settlement NGOs, and other organisations who work with these vulnerable communities.

The news was warmly welcomed by the Asylum Seekers Centre in Sydney.

Frances Rush, the CEO, writes:

“From the early days of the pandemic we knew that people seeking asylum would be among those hit hardest. Our Centre has seen the need triple for basics such as food, rental relief, digital connectivity and health services. This commitment of funds from the NSW government is a welcome acknowledgement that people seeking asylum are part of our community, they cannot leave and they have lived through three months of the pandemic with no access to Centrelink.”


We all know how important our mobile phones are to us. For asylum seekers and refugees in detention, who are already denied laptops and, often, access to visitors, their mobile phones are their most vital ink to the outside world. They allow them to stay in contact with family and with refugee supporters who help lift their morale.
They can also be used to show us what life is like for detainees in detention, which is inconvenient for our government, which has been highly successful in its efforts to keep these vulnerable people out of sight and out of mind.
  Mobile phones, therefore, are a vital lifeline, but that is precisely why our heartless Federal Government wants to take them away, and the Acting Minister has signalled that he intends to introduce legislation to do just that.
This latest action by Alan Tudge revives an attempt by Minister Dutton to ban mobile phones for detainees, a move that was stopped by the Federal Court. 
Please consider contacting Alan Tudge to urge him not to introduce legislation that would allow authorities to remove mobile phones from refugees. Tell him that their phones are a vital lifeline which enables them to stay in contact with the outside world. To deny them this basic amenity would be utterly cruel and heartless.
Alan Tudge:  Tel: 02 6277 7790

A number of our supporters have responded to a brief discussion paper from Mike about how we move forward with our activities once all government restrictions are eased. There is strong support for continuing with our market stalls and our roadside demonstrations and for continuing with our fundraising activities.
We have purchased a roll of calico and have two banners sewn up and ready to paint, and we have also acquired a batch of corflutes (placards) that are ready to be painted with new signs for our demonstrations.

If you have any thoughts about what we should write on the banners and the placards, then please let Mike know by emailing him at:  
As ever, if you have any ideas about fundraising activities, big or small, that you are willing to lead on, then please let us know. It would be great to have some new ideas.
We hope to have a planning meeting soon to discuss all this in more detail. If you would like to be involved, please let Mike know.

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