Supporting those seeking asylum
Thursday 20 June marks World Refugee Day and our union is taking steps to support those seeking asylum within our local community.
One of these steps was the IEUA-QNT Branch Executive’s recent unanimous endorsement of a donation to the Logan Asylum Seeking Group.
Our union endeavours to stand alongside and show support for families forced to flee war or persecution.
Logan Asylum Seeking Group President Geoff Leeming made a presentation to our council along with Imtiaz, the youngest person to seek solo asylum in Australia.
Imtiaz fled Pakistan as just a young teenager without his family and shared his personal story with the IEUA-QNT council.
Imtiaz was later granted refugee status in Australia and now works to support the Logan Asylum Seeker Group.
Mr Leeming said the Logan Asylum Seeking Group is one of the largest community groups in Queensland helping asylum seekers and refugees.
He said between 2011 and 2012 there were 13,000 asylum seekers living within Australia on temporary VISAs.
In 2017 they were made even more vulnerable as Australian immigration law changed which effectively saw any “undetermined” asylum seeker cut off from all government funding.
This means they have no work rights and do not qualify for social welfare payments, government funded healthcare or education.
It also meant that community groups could no longer use any government funds or grants to support them.
Leeming said in Queensland, the state government has allowed hospital access and Catholic schools in the area have taken in students who are no longer able to attend state schools.
He said while the current state Labor government has committed $700,000, this amounts to $100 per month for each adult and $50 per month per child.
“For a family of four, $300 per month doesn’t cover bills and rent,” Mr Leeming said.
Community organisations like the Logan Asylum Seeking Group are supporting asylum seekers and families any way they can.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said our union values of dignity, respect and decency; social justice; and belief in the power of the collective are deeply reflected in the work of the Logan Asylum Seeking Group.
“It is the council’s sincere hope that this donation will help provide crucial support to the Logan Asylum Seeking Community and the families it supports,” Mr Burke said.
According to the United Nations every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror.
Asylum seekers are people who have fled their homes as refugee people do, but their claim to refugee status is not determined by the country to which they fled.
Image: Imtiaz, IEAU-QNT President Andrew Elphinstone and Logan Asylum Seeking Group President Geoff Leeming.