Mayor of Waverley joins call to extend COVID-19 support to people seeking asylum

06 July 2020 | Media Release

Mayor of Waverley, Paula Masselos, is one of 38 Mayors who today signed onto an open letter calling on the Federal Government to extend crucial supports to people seeking asylum affected by the impacts COVID-19.

The open letter by the Refugee Council of Australia outlines key concerns for people seeking asylum who have lost work as a result of COVID-19 and remain ineligible for income support programs and - in some instances - Medicare.

Many of the areas represented in the open letter are home to large populations of people seeking asylum, and local governments are seeing the full impact of the lack of support being offered by the Federal government.

Mayor Masselos said asylum seekers living in the community on bridging visas are experiencing major economic impacts due to COVID-19, as they are ineligible for JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments.

“We are calling on the Federal Government to extend income support measures to asylum seekers in the community as these people are among the most vulnerable and need support,” Mayor Masselos said.

“We may not be home to many asylum seekers in Waverley, but this is a human rights issue, and everyone in the community deserves support.

“Our Council is very much focused on supporting the whole community, and particularly vulnerable and at-risk residents, to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and maintain social connections and quality of life.”

“We have been overwhelmed by residents, precinct groups and businesses offering support for neighbourhood and community support initiatives, and we hope that the Federal Government can extend support to asylum seekers in Australia.”

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President, Linda Scott said the exclusion of asylum seekers in Australia from COVID-19 economic support packages places thousands of people at very real risk, and local councils are often closely involved in helping these families.

“I am proud that many mayors and councillors across NSW have thrown their support behind Refugee Council of Australia efforts calling for the Federal Government to immediately extend COVID 19 support to this especially vulnerable part of our communities,” Ms Scott said.

“As recently as our 2019 annual conference councils resolved that LGNSW would advocate to the Federal Government calling for an urgent review of the eligibility requirements for the support scheme for asylum seekers.

“LGNSW fully supports this call for COVID 19 support to be extended to asylum seekers. Every person in our communities should have the right to access essential services and support.”

The group of Mayors are calling on the Federal government to extend the commendable programs it has in place to those who are struggling at this time.

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  • Mayor Cr Khal Asfour, City of Canterbury-Bankstown, NSW
  • Mayor Darcy Byrne, Inner West Council, NSW
  • Mayor Cr Samantha Byrne, Moonee Valley City Council, VIC
  • President Barry Calvert, Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils, NSW
  • Mayor Cr Barry Calvert, Hawkesbury City Council, NSW
  • Lord Mayor Sally Capp, City of Melbourne, VIC
  • Mayor Cr Lara Carli, Melton City Council, VIC
  • Mayor Sarah Carter, Maribyrnong City Council, VIC
  • Mayor Cr Alison Champion, Banyule City Council, VIC
  • Mayor Emma Cole, City of Vincent, WA
  • Mayor Cr Misha Coleman, City of Yarra, VIC
  • Mayor Cr Ross Ebbels, Borough of Queenscliffe, VIC
  • Mayor Cr Colleen Gates, Hobsons Bay City Council, VIC
  • Mayor Cr Josh Gilligan, Wyndham City Council, VIC
  • Mayor Cr Mark Greenhill, Blue Mountains City Council, NSW
  • Mayor Cr Sam Hearn, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, VIC
  • Mayor Heather Holmes-Ross, City of Mitcham, WA
  • Mayor Cr Stuart James, City of Monash, VIC
  • Mayor Licia Kokocinski, Hepburn Shire Council, VIC
  • Mayor Jerome Laxale, City of Ryde, NSW
  • Mayor Cr Paula Masselos, Waverley Council, NSW
  • Mayor Cr Paul Maytom, Leeton Shire Council, NSW
  • Mayor Cr Jim Memeti, City of Greater Dandenong, VIC
  • Mayor Cr Carly Moore, Hume City Council, VIC
  • Mayor David O'Loughlin, City of Prospect, SA
  • Mayor Cr Georgina Papafotiou, Brimbank City Council, VIC
  • Mayor Cr Susan Rennie, City of Darebin, VIC
  • Lord Mayor Cr Anna Reynolds, City of Hobart, TAS
  • President Coral Ross, Municipal Association of Victoria, VIC
  • Mayor Cr Danny Said, Randwick City Council, NSW
  • President Linda Scott, Local Government NSW, NSW
  • Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Scully, City of Sydney, NSW
  • Mayor Cr Jeff Springfield, Cardinia Shire Council, VIC
  • Mayor Cr Lambros Tapinos, Moreland City Council, VIC
  • Mayor Bernadene Voss, City of Port Phillip, VIC
  • Mayor Wendy Waller, Liverpool City Council, NSW
  • Administrator Lydia Wilson, Whittlesea City Council, VIC