Wednesday, 08 July 2020

No Child Left Behind

Uniting Church members are encouraged to support a campaign urging the Federal Government to ensure children seeking asylum in Australia are not left homeless and hungry by the impacts of COVID-19.

In Australia there are around 16,000 children in families seeking protection. For many of those children, their parents or carers have lost work as a result of the pandemic and have been left with no income and no support.

Assembly Associate General Secretary Rob Floyd, Chairperson of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce (ACRT) encouraged Uniting Church members to join others around the country calling on the Government to step in and offer support.

“This week, as we face the awful news of Melbourne returning to lockdown, we are reminded that going back to work is just not possible for many Australians. For many the financial impact will continue to be devastating and long lasting,” said Mr Floyd.

“We are thankful for the support the Government has provided to many Australians, but we know that still some people are falling through the cracks, and this includes children from families who are seeking permanent protection in Australia.”

“COVID-19 has taught us that our Australian society is only as strong and healthy as the most vulnerable in our community. As we noted in a recent statement on how we should seek to recover as a nation from COVID-19, when we take steps to support each other, everyone benefits.”

In recent months, charities have faced unprecedented demand for support from families seeking asylum. In many cases requests have trebled to help pay for rent, food and medicines.

“Many children living here in Australia have come from dangerous and often traumatic circumstances. On top of this, they live with the uncertainty of their resettlement in Australia. Facing a heightened level of anxiety with the spread of COVID-19, these young people  now live with the fear of having nowhere to live and no food to eat.”

“This is not the situation we want young children in Australia to experience. All children deserve the right to a safe and secure home and the best opportunity to live a happy life. No child should be left behind.”

The campaign led by the Refugee Council of Australia, is calling on the Federal Government to ensure adequate support is offered to asylum seeker families left out of work.

They are collecting signatures from members of the public and are specifically seeking support from educators, parents and students, and the relevant bodies representing them, for a joint statement addressed to the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston.


You can watch retired principal Dorothy Hoddinott AO interviewed on the Today Show this week speaking about the impacts on children from asylum seeker families.