On 7th April 2020, the Missionary Sisters of Service joined with more than 40 other signatories including other Religious Orders, Australian Catholic service providers and bishops, in writing a letter to the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Scott Morrison. We are advocating for the most vulnerable people in our community to receive government support as the impacts of COVID-19 continue to wreak havoc.
Refugees, asylum-seekers, temporary visa holders and migrants in vulnerable situations have not been extended government funding. The letter asks that the Morrison Government provide them temporary access to a financial safety net, Medicare and adequate shelter if they are homeless.
Indeed, the following two main groups of people remain on the margins of our community and their vulnerability to COVID-19 is heightened: 1.5 million temporary visa holders who work in our community but may be losing their jobs, who have no access to any form of financial safety net, to Medicare, to temporary shelter or fundamental support services and cannot return home; and people who came seeking Australia’s protection who are currently being held in detention centres across Australia and have no choice to exercise social distancing, hygiene protocols or avoid exposure to guards and service providers.
President of Catholic Religious Australia, Br Peter Carroll FMS, said: “Whilst the Australian government has moved quickly to support many in our community in the face of the COVID-19 – and they should be applauded for doing so – these actions have shone a light on the millions in our community left to fend for themselves. Action is needed now.”
“Religious have always sought to protect and speak up for vulnerable people and in this instance, that includes trafficked people, victims of modern slavery, refugees, people seeking asylum, those experiencing domestic violence, amongst others. We ask the Government to take more steps to support the often hidden and marginalised in our country,” said Anne Walker, National Executive Director of CRA.
We Missionary Sisters of Service will continue to advocate for, and walk alongside those who are most vulnerable in our community.
To read the letter to the Prime Minister, click here.