NSW cushions pandemic impact on asylum seekers and temporary visa holders

By Melissa Coade

Thursday August 19, 2021

The secretary of NSW’s environment department is leaving the role after just two months. (Image: Adobe/ Keitma)

NGOs providing emergency support services to asylum seekers and temporary visa holders will be eligible for a share in $5.5 million state government funding.

Multiculturalism minister Natalie Ward announced the grants program open on Wednesday, noting that funds would be directed to those NGOs in greatest need.

“This funding will be available to NGOs who deliver immediate support to temporary visa holders, particularly asylum seekers, who are among the most vulnerable members of our community,” Ward said.  

“It’s important this support gets to where it is needed most, as quickly as possible.” 

The government grants will pay for emergency essentials such as food, medical support, essential housing and transport costs.

Initially, the NSW government had allocated $750,000 to emergency relief provisions to support at-risk asylum seekers and temporary visa holders.

With the latest grant money on offer, the state has stumped up a total of $6.25 million in response to the current COVID-19 outbreak affecting NSW, Ward said. 

Eligible NGOs can make an application to access the grant money online at multicultural.nsw.gov.au/grants.

Ward’s statement outlined other government support initiatives for the multicultural communities of NSW, including engaging with religious and community leaders via online forums, meeting and coordinating with leaders to understand community needs, and the development of  more than 1,500 resources for specific health information, including stay-at-home restrictions in nearly 60 languages. 

The government’s multiculturalism portfolio has also partnered with SBS to interpret daily COVID press conferences in real-time for six languages: Arabic, Assyrian, Cantonese, Khmer, Mandarin and Vietnamese.

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