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Yesterday the Turnbull government released its budget for the next financial year. The team at Refugee Council of Australia has pored over the documents and we thought you might be interested in the key elements of the budget that will affect refugees and people seeking asylum and those supporting them.
  • The 2018-19 Humanitarian Program will increase in 2018-19 to 18,750 places, although it is unclear whether there will continue to be a numerical target in future.
  • Operation Sovereign Borders will continue with an extra $62.2 million, and another $294 million for border security at airports, and $6.9 million for two years to continue operation of the Airline Liaison Program to detect and prevent unauthorised entry to Australia.
  • The Department of Jobs and Innovation will save $68.1 million over four years by making newly arrived refugees eligible for jobactive services after 26 weeks of income support payments, rather than 13 weeks.
The Budget offers little new for refugees. In a small but welcome move, newly arrived refugees will get more time to focus on settling in Australia and learning English before they start needing to find employment through Jobactive. Most will not be required to engage with Jobactive services until six months after arrival, with those with good English language skills being able to access job search support earlier than this. This responds to some of the concerns RCOA raised in a recent report on Jobactive with Fairfield Multicultural Interagency.

The Department of Home Affairs has made some interesting changes to its performance targets. These include a new performance target to ensure that people detained because they do not have a valid visa are released from detention or have their status resolved within 90 days, and for all decisions to detain to be reviewed internally within 48 hours. This still falls far short of ensuring all decisions to detain are independently reviewed and that
detentionbe a last resort for the shortest time possible, but is a small step in the right direction.

The Department is now also referring to the planned intake under the Humanitarian Program this year as a “ceiling
’, and has removed reference to any numerical targets in the following year.
Read our full budget analysis here
Once again, at a time of urgent international need and at a time when the Government can afford to do more both at home and overseas, this is a disappointing Budget for people who need our protection.

We are committed to fighting for our vision of the just and equitable treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum. 

I want to take this opportunity to ask if you can help us continue our important policy and advocacy by becoming a regular donor of the Refugee Council. Your support helps us to continue producing important research and building communtiy power for change.
Become a monthly donor today
Yours in hope,

Paul Power, CEO, Refugee Council of Australia
Copyright © 2018 Refugee Council of Australia, All rights reserved.

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