The Sydney Alliance welcomes the NSW Government’s announcement today that it will provide over $6 million in support to multicultural communities affected by COVID-19, including migrants and temporary visa holders.

"Since the beginning of this crisis we have been saying that there is a hole in our safety net, and vulnerable newcomers are falling through the gaps."

said Sydney Alliance organiser Chantelle Ogilvie-Ellis.

"Where Canberra has abandoned international students, people seeking asylum and others, NSW has stepped in. We thank the Berejiklian Government for acknowledging its responsibility and duty of care to vulnerable migrants in our state who live, work and study amongst us."

Since March, organisations across civil society have been calling on government again and again, to provide immediate assistance to temporary visa holders in crisis. In April, the Sydney Alliance contacted NSW members of parliament with the first hand stories of people in crisis who had been left behind during COVID due to their visa status.

Stories that the Sydney Alliance have passed on to Members of Parliament include (amongst many)…
  • Leaders from refugee and migrant communities receiving texts from families running out of food and facing eviction
  • Migrant workers that have been self-reliant, working and paying tax in Australia for 5 years or more suddenly unemployed with no support
  • Specialist community services and diaspora leaders seeing a dramatic increase in people seeking asylum and international students facing homelessness, risk of suicide and despair

The Sydney Alliance acknowledges the work of the many civil society organisations and diaspora communities, who during this crisis have not only been working tirelessly through their own resources to ensure that vulnerable migrants can access food and shelter, but who have also made their voices heard by speaking and writing to MPs about this issue.

We recognise all those civil society organisations speaking to Government to push this forward.

Today’s announcement is a sign that the NSW Government is listening to the urgent need on the ground, and can respond to issues as they arise.  It includes $6 million in funding which the NSW Government will distribute to specialist migrant and settlement NGOs, and multicultural community organisations. This is in addition to the commitment of $20 million for temporary crisis accommodation for international students that the NSW Government announced in May.

This is a win for organised civil society working together: community organisations, faith groups, unions and people of the common good as well as local councils and small businesses.

The Alliance looks forward to learning more about the detail of the announcement and working to ensure that support reaches those who most need it.

Call for comment, grabs and stories from the front line:
Primary: Chantelle Ogilvie-Ellis of Sydney Alliance: 0412 876 630
Secondary: David Barrow, Sydney Alliance, 0416028001

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