Bishop Delegate for Migrants and Refugees Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM has called on the Australian government not to deny support for refugees who have come here for medical treatment. Photo: Supplied.The Federal government’s recent decision to deny welfare and other support to refugees receiving medical treatment in Australia has drawn criticism from Australian Catholic Bishops.
The Federal government’s recent decision to deny welfare and other support to refugees receiving medical treatment in Australia has drawn criticism from Australian Catholic Bishops.
In a statement from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference on Thursday 31 August, Bishop Delegate for Migrants and Refugees, Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM called on the government not to remove support for such a vulnerable group.
“These men, women, and children were brought to Australia from offshore detention centres, to remove support for them leaves them vulnerable to exploitation, and risks leaving them destitute,” he said.
“As refugees, these men, women, and children, are under the care of the Australian Government. To deny them appropriate support is to leave them at a risk of further harm.
“These people, some with history of mental health largely due to prolonged detention by the Australian Government policy, have been searching for safety and a better life; they deserve more than this treatment,” Bishop Long said.
The statement comes after news that the immigration department planned to end $200-a fortnight payments to the refugee group, starting on Monday 28 August, as well as giving them three weeks from that date to move out of public housing.
Estimates of the number of people affected run from 100 to 400 across Australia.
Bishop Long condemned the decision as ‘un-Australian’, drawing on the country’s history of welcoming and helping refugees.
“I urge the Australian Government to continue to provide support services for these men, women, and children, who are awaiting a resolution to their current situation,” he said
“As a well-resourced nation with a long tradition of caring for migrants and refugees, we can do better than to throw a small number of refugees out onto the streets. It is a bridge too far. It is cruel and simply un-Australian.
“People seeking asylum are some of the most vulnerable members of our global community. It is imperative that they are treated humanely and with dignity,” Bishop Long said.