Refugee Welcome March in London, September 2016. © Marie-Anne Ventoura/Amnesty International

Review of Community Support Program for refugees confirms need for radical change

Amnesty International Australia welcomes the findings of the Department of Home Affairs’ review of the Community Support Program (CSP) for refugees hoping to make Australia home.

The review highlights the issues that Amnesty, through its My New Neighbour community campaign, has been asking the Government to address for more than three years:

  • The cost of CSP, at more than $20,000 per person, is too expensive for ordinary Australians who want to welcome refugees into their communities.
  • The CSP is not in addition to the Government’s humanitarian intake – at a time when the refugee crisis is worsening due to war, climate change and now Covid-19 we must be doing everything we can to resettle more refugees through our annual humanitarian intake and, in addition, through CSP.
  • The bureaucratic burden and commitments put on community groups to ensure whoever they sponsor is job ready or has adequate English before they arrive, is too onerous and needs to be simplified.

Responding to the findings, Amnesty International campaigner, Shankar Kasynathan, said: “My New Neighbour and its 40,000 supporters, 40 councils and countless other community groups welcome the release of these findings that confirm our view that the CSP needs to be improved.

“CSP, as the Department has pointed out, is not only a humanitarian priority, it also has a positive economic contribution to local communities. We are now waiting for Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke, to confirm that he will act upon all these concerns and make it easier for more refugees to contribute to our communities around Australia.”