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The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce (ACRT)

ACRTx350

Refugee Council of Australia - NobodyLeftBehind 

Let us call on the Federal government to take a number of bold actions to improve individual situations and reduce health risks to the broader community:

  1. Move people urgently out of crowded immigration detention facilities:
  2. Ensure a financial safety net and Medicare access for all in Australia, including people seeking asylum and refugees
  3. Prevent people losing legal status and access to support
  4. Move refugees and people seeking asylum from PNG and Nauru 
  5. Ensure that refugees on temporary SHEV visas are not penalised in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

Can you help us send a message to our elected representatives that they cannot forget people seeking asylum and refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

How to get involved in this advocacy work

To support the direct lobbying of MPs and Senators on these matters, the Refugee Council of Australia are calling on their supporters to contact their local MP to ensure they are aware of the gap in the government’s coronavirus support package for people seeking asylum. We call upon the government to ensure access to Medicare and financial support for people seeking asylum if in need. This reflects the situation for other residents in Australia. It will help prevent destitution, homelessness and severe illness.

You can help by contacting your local MP and asking them to raise these matters with the relevant Ministers and party spokespeople?

Contact your local MP today!  Email your MP - Covid-19 response for people seeking asylum and refugees 

The Tasmanian Government announcement

It is encouraging to hear that a $3 million package to support an estimated 26,000 temporary visa holders facing financial hardship due to corona virus.

Find out more on ABC News: Live: 'A time for kindness' as Tasmania announces $3 million package to support visa holders  

Plants as Partners

We share this encouraging story from one of our ACRT standing committee members about distributing plants to asylum seekers by Collins Street Baptist Church.

Planted Places is a social enterprise centred on closing the distance between people and plants. So, what do we do when, for the sake of our neighbours, we are required to stay apart?

Last week we prepared a mix of houseplants from the Green Room at Collins St Baptist Church to be delivered to the residences of people seeking asylum. Some of the plants came from our own collection in the indoor garden of Central House and others were a part of an order from a wholesale nursery. Unable to do it ourselves during this time of social distancing, we knew we could lean on plants to do the work of being sent out into the world.

The collection of 75 plants, picked up by one of Baptcare’s employees, included easy-to-care-for common indoor plants such as Spathiphyllum - peace lilies, which faithfully live up to their name, Chlorophytum comosum – spider plants, which are highly tolerant and lots of plants from the Epipremnum family – devil’s ivy and dragon’s tail, which are actually much sweeter than they sound.

Confident of their capacity to change a space and bring life to a room, these plants carried out their roles as equal partners in the business of Planted Places. They did what we couldn’t, that is to become physically close companions in a time of isolation. Distributed around Melbourne by caseworkers, the feedback to us was so encouraging.

Plants were received by families and children with joy. We heard reports of delight and “lit up faces”. While also collecting weekly food supplies, men from Baptcare’s Sanctuary program were able to choose a plant and they did so with “great care.” At this time of collective restriction and enforced isolation indoors, interior green space and plants as companions become essential. As essential as the clean air they bring.

Download the PDF of the article with photos here 

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