Impact of Australian Government budget cuts (2020/21) on Refugees and Asylum Seekers
The recent news of the 2020/21 federal budget cuts is expected to have a significant impact on both existing refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, as well as protection seeking individuals from war-torn and disaster stricken countries.
The budget has outlined the Refugee and Humanitarian program is set to be cut back to 13,750 places from 18,750 over the upcoming four years, saving up to $911.3million in federal expenses.
There has also been an allocation of $1.19 billion to be spent on detention and offshore processing regimes over 2020/21, which has been said to negate any savings gained from these budget reductions.
On a positive note, $12.7million will be allocated over 2 years to the Department of Home Affairs to support and extend current youth programs.
Disappointingly, the budget has included reductions to current support services for migrants, with many of these individuals already unable to access Job Keeper and Job Seeker income support.
Financial support will be cut to $19.6million, severely impacting the job security of individuals as well as well as placing greater pressure on humanitarian organisations, many of which have already struggled with the rise in homeslessness during the pandemic.
Although the benefits of refugees and asylum seekers building our communities and supporting our economy is clearly visible, the Morrison government is certain permanent reductions are needed for Australia during the current economic crisis.
In their article, the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) noted the need for discriminative actions by the government to come to an end, particularly the ongoing offshore detention of many individuals.
Read more here
Recommendations for seeking help:
During the uncertainty of these changes, it is important to remain well informed and connected to other members of the community. There are many resources and programs available through the ASRC website, such as the Employment Program for individuals seeking help in applying for jobs.
Access further resources:
Factsheets available here https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/factsheets/
COVID-19 information for people seeking protection https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/covid-19-update-for-refugees-and-people-seeking-asylum/