What the 2024-25 Federal Budget means for people seeking asylum in Australia

May 22, 2024

Despite the government promising a cost of living budget, it is shockingly silent on refugees and people seeking asylum, some of the most vulnerable in our community.

There is no restoration of a safety net for people seeking safety, who face the terrifying prospect of today’s Senate vote on the deportation and entry ban bill.

In the 2024-25 Federal Budget, the ASC welcomes increased funding for refugee settlement services, measures for refugees arriving from Gaza and Ukraine, and $1b to set up the new merits review system, the Administrative Review Tribunal (ART), so it can “finalise 100 per cent of case lodgements each year”.

But the ASC is deeply concerned by:

  • The $20 million drop in financial support for people seeking asylum to $17 million – a shocking 2.8 per cent of the yearly funding allocated to Australia’s cruel offshore detention regime.
  • Major underspending on financial support payments to people seeking asylum by $21 million in the last year, with many we support unable to access payments due to strict eligibility criteria.
  • No additional places in the Refugee and Humanitarian Program.
  • The cruel offshore detention regime remains well-funded with $604 million for offshore processing on Nauru.
  • No funding to increase the provision of work or study rights for people seeking asylum.
  • Minimal increases ($1.9 million and $900,000) to extend Medicare access for Bridging E Visa holders from Ukraine, Palestine, and Israel.
  • No movement on granting people seeking asylum with a disability access to NDIS payments.
  • No extension of childcare subsidies to people seeking asylum.
  • Zero additional funding to states and territories to support people seeking asylum with increased access to homelessness support.

This is on top of a brutal cost of living crisis, which has widened the cracks in the system into which people seeking asylum often fall. It has detrimental long-term impacts on the people we support, who are forced to spend long periods of time without the right to support themselves, without basic financial support to buy essential items, and without access to childcare.

This is unacceptable. We must stand up against this cruelty and help families like Aaliyah’s*.

Aaliyah and her husband fled danger in their home country and sought asylum in Australia seven years ago. Their young toddler Aaron* was born in Australia, but the family has been trapped in limbo for years without visa certainty.

They are one of many families supported by the ASC who struggle with the cost of surviving. Both parents work opposite shifts to share the care of Aaron, but the jobs are insecure and income varies week to week.

On a good week, Aaliyah and her husband earn $1,000 and pay $400 rent, leaving $600 for food, medicine, petrol, and other essentials. Without access to subsidies, childcare costs $700 – far more than they can afford.

Despite their insecure employment, Aaliyah and her husband do not have a safety net.

We need your help more than ever to support families like Aaliyah’s with essential services, advocacy, and practical support.

This financial year, we are calling on supporters to stand up for people seeking safety with a safety net by making a tax-deductible donation to the ASC today.

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