Asylum seeker support services are hoping that other state governments will follow Victoria’s lead and allocate extra funding for people on temporary visas who have been affected by federal cuts.
An amount of $3 million funding commitment has been made by the Victorian government for people on bridging visas. Thousands of asylum seekers who arrived by boat before 2014 lost access to federal income support payments after the government tightened eligibility requirements in 2017.
Community services say the dismantling of the status resolution support service program – worth about $35 a day – has pushed asylum seekers into poverty and increased demand for their help.
JRS Australia director Carolina Gottardo hoped other states, including NSW, would follow the Victorian government’s decision to provide “life-saving” support to the vulnerable group.
“There are thousands of people seeking asylum in other states, including NSW, who are facing abject poverty, sleeping rough or insecure housing, and struggling with serious mental and physical health issues without adequate support,” she said.
“These include single mothers and those who have experienced domestic/family violence.”
More than 8,000 asylum seekers who arrived by boat before 2014 are living on bridging visas while they wait for their claim to be finalised.
Asylum Seekers Centre CEO Frances Rush said the Victorian Government’s decision was a “humane response to a very real crisis”.