As part of CARAD’s contribution to advocacy in our state for people seeking asylum, refugees and detainees we held a stall at the 2017 WA State Labor Party Conference. A key group of agencies and community advocates have been meeting regularly for several months to coordinate our advocacy efforts in WA to address the disadvantages that people seeking safety in our community face. Our aim is to rectify this disadvantage and in doing so to make our state more welcoming and responsive to the needs of our most vulnerable residents.
Our key topics for discussion were transport concessions for asylum seekers and making Perth a region in the Safe Haven Enterprise Scheme (SHEV).
WA and the Northern Territory still remain the two states in which people seeking asylum are not able to access public transport concessions, despite only being eligible to receive 89% of Centrelink benefits and in many cases, no income at all.
For those asylum seekers who have had their claims processed and been granted a SHEV, their biggest concern is that they now have to uproot from the place they call home once again and move to a regional area where the supports that have come to rely upon will not be available.
We had the opportunity to speak to the Premier, Mark McGowan about the work that we do and the issues that our clients have communicated to us are causing them financial stress and distress and what can be done to improve their living situation. The Transport Minister, Rita Saffioti was interested to hear about what Labor can do to help people seeking asylum in our community and we are looking forward to meeting with her in coming weeks to discuss this further.
Many thanks to the staff, volunteers and friends of CARAD who were involved in the coordination of the day, together we can make change happen!