Child refugees playing in a line holding each other

Celebrities join communities calling on government to improve refugee sponsorship in Australia

Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke, has been encouraged by a variety of community leaders, actors, authors, comedians and playwrights to confirm as a matter of urgency improvements to the Community Support Program that allows Australian communities to sponsor refugees and welcome them into their neighbourhoods.

Celebrities, included comedians Tom Gleeson, Judith Lucy and Damian Callinan, children’s author Andy Griffiths and actor Fayssal Bazi, have joined forces with diaspora groups, refugee networks and community leaders calling on Minister Hawke in an open letter to act now to help those still trapped in Afghanistan and other dangerous places around the world.

Comedian, TV presenter and Gold Logie Award Winner, Tom Gleeson, said: “With the borders being closed for almost two years, life has been pretty boring. Life is more fun with visitors and even more fun when we let them stay!”

Amnesty International Australia campaigner, Shankar Kasynathan, said: “With so many humanitarian disasters, such as the crisis in Afghanistan, more and more people need our help. Communities around Australia are desperate to do their bit and welcome refugees into their neighbourhoods. Minister Hawke has had recommendations to improve CSP on his desk for more than six months. Those recommendations need to be implemented immediately.”

Hazara woman and founder of the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees, Najeeba Wazefadost, said: My organisation has been working night and day trying to get supplies into Afghanistan – everything from food, to nappies and baby formula. The situation is absolutely dire. There must be more Australia can do to help.”

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