Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison – #NobodyLeftBehind


On 7 May the Refugee Council wrote to the Prime Minister to urgently address the gaps in the current COVID-19 responses and ensure that nobody is left behind. https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/open-letter-covid/

The Mayoral Taskforce requested Inner West Council add their  name to a letter to the prime minister in support of the Open Letter.

On 12 May 2020 I put up an Urgent Motion which the Council resolved:
1. Co-sign:
a) The Refugee Council’s Open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison – Nobody Left Behind; and

b) The letter of support being co-ordinated by the Local Government Mayoral Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum.

2. Add a link to Council’s website for the Asylum Seeker’s Centre’s media release of support for the open letter and Plea for the Government to provide a safety net for everyone – including people seeking asylum.

On 9 June, Inner West Council Resolved to provide grants to 10 Inner West NGOS and Charities including the Asylum Seekers Center and the Addison Road Community Centre who were supporting Refugees during the COVID-19 Lockdown.

THAT Council approve a COVID impact funding contribution of $25,000 each to the following major partner organisations: Addison Road Community Centre, Asylum Seekers Centre, Exodus Foundation, Headspace Ashfield, Inner West Neighbour Aid, Leichhardt Women’s Health Centre, Marrickville Youth Resource Centre, Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, Rozelle Neighbourhood Centre, and St Vincent de Paul Society Inner West.

The @asylumseekerscentre has partnered with the creators of new Australian film Hearts and Bones, starring Hugo Weaving, to present #RefugeeWeek Movie Night on Saturday.

In 2018, Mums 4 Refugees approached me about Inner West Council joining the
THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT MAYORAL TASKFORCE FOR PEOPLE SEEKING ASYLUM TO ADVOCATE AGAINST THE SRSS CUTS.

I set up a meeting with the Asylum Seeker's Centre in Newtown to find out more about the effects of the cuts and if thee was anything else the council could do.

At the 24 July 2018 Council Meeting Inner West Council Resolved that:
  1. Council writes to the Prime Minister and to the Federal Minister of Home Affairs asking the Federal Government to reverse cuts to the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) program and highlighting the unfair and devastating impact of these cuts on people seeking asylum and the Inner West community’s disagreement with these cuts;
  2. Council writes to the Premier of New South Wales asking her to make representation to both the Prime Minister and the Federal Minister of Home Affairs to highlight the devastating impact of these cuts on the NSW community and to reverse the cuts;
  3. Members of Parliaments for the seats of Balmain, Heffron, Newtown, Strathfield, Summer Hill and Grayndler; New South Wales Senators; and Members of the NSW Legislative Council are informed of Council’s position;
  4. Other NSW Councils are contacted seeking their support for joint advocacy on this issue;
  5. Council publicises practical way members of the Inner West Community can work with the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown to support people seeking asylum (https://www.innerwest.nsw.gov.au/live/community-well-being/migrant-support-services)
  6. Council considers practical ways of supporting people seeking asylum; and
  7. Council works with the Asylum Seekers Centre in Newtown to organise a civic leaders meetings with community leaders in the Inner West. The meeting will discuss ways the community can collectively address the challenges lying ahead for people seeking asylum.
On the 3rd December 2018, the Taskforce launched the “Back Your Neighbour” campaign against the cuts. Social Change Projects is managing the Campaign on behalf of the Taskforce and has a strong record in this area, responsible in Victoria for managing the Make Rent Fair campaign and nationally and will be running a strong media and stakeholder campaign from now until at least the Federal election.

At the request of the Mayoral Taskforce, the Inner West Council resolved to
  1. Endorse the Joint Statement against changes to the Status Resolution Support Service as formulated by Councils that attended the Mayoral Roundtable held in  Dandenong, Victoria on 31 July 2018 shown at Appendix 2;
  2. Join the Local Government Mayoral Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum as a General Member
  3. Endorse the Back Your Neighbour Campaign run by the Taskforce and
  4. Nominated me as the Inner West Council contact(s) to the taskforce
In June 2019, the Australian Local Government Association resolved to call on the Federal Government to reverse its cuts to (and fully fund) the Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS) program.






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