Page 939 - Week 03 - Thursday, 22 March 2018

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

(i) be aged between 18 and 50;

(ii) have an offer of employment (or a pathway that leads to employment);

(iii) have personal attributes that would enable them to become financially self-sufficient within 12 months of arrival; or

(iv) be willing to live and work in regional Australia;

(b) in addition to this strict criteria, community sponsors of applicants to the CSP are required to fund:

(i) visa application charges of $2680 at the time of application, with no guarantee of success;

(ii) an additional $16 444 for the primary applicant and $2680 for each other family member before the visa can be granted; and

(iii) airfares, medical screening and settlement costs; and

(c) although the CSP is a step in the right direction, we are concerned that:

(i) the rigid criteria will discriminate against those who are most in need; and

(ii) high fees, upwards of $19 000 per first individual, may be prohibitive for potential community supporters;

(4) further notes that:

(a) there have been significant changes to eligibility for the Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) payment—a reduced payment of 87 percent of Newstart that can be paid to those waiting for processing of their applications;

(b) community groups, such as Canberra Refugee Support (CRS) are already stretched to provide support to fill the gap left by the changes made to the SRSS payments late last year; and

(c) there is little transparency about the new eligibility criteria for the payment—the Federal Department of Home Affairs states simply that eligibility for the SSRS is “determined by Department of Home Affairs”; and

(5) calls on the Assembly to write to the Federal Government to:

(a) adopt a more humane and affordable visa fee structure for the CSP, to make the program fairer and more accessible;

(b) make the cap on the Refugee Community Sponsorship program additional to our existing humanitarian intake, in order to recognise the generosity and care of our communities rather than shifting both the costs and the burden of responsibility to them for meeting our international human rights obligations; and

(c) explain these changes to the SRSS payment and to make criteria transparent.

I start this morning by recognising and celebrating people who have come to Canberra as refugees and recognising their contributions to building our community, be it through sporting teams, volunteering, community groups, local small businesses and the other myriad ways they contribute to our city. I note that the ACT is a refugee

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video