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30 Aug 2017

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) is alarmed by the Australian Government’s decision to cut welfare to 100 of the 400 people seeking asylum, who have been transferred from offshore detention centres to Australia for medical care, and are currently living in our community.


Ensuring access to benefits is one of the priorities for the AMSA Crossing Borders for Health committee, which is responsible for advocating on behalf of medical students for refugee and asylum seeker health which includes ensuring access to benefits.  

Crossing Borders for Health  is disappointed and concerned by the Australian Government’s recent action to revoke welfare entitlements of people seeking asylum.


National Project Officer, Sibella Hare Breidahl, said: “There is strong evidence to show that reduction in funding for welfare has major effects on the health of newcomers. Eroding economic and social conditions negatively impacts on health by reducing access to health care, deterioration in mental health and increases domestic violence1.


“The Government has already made people seeking asylum vulnerable, through damaging policies that incorporate unnecessarily long processing times, detention in inhospitable conditions, offering few options for family reunification, denying full work rights and withholding social services.


“Individuals and families who have come to seek safety are already living below the poverty line, receiving just $200 per fortnight. This new policy will further exacerbate the disadvantage they currently endure.


“The Government is pushing the financial burden to support asylum seekers on to community and not-for-profit organisations, straining their already limited resources. It is the Government’s obligation to adequately look after all people in their care, an obligation they are consciously and cruelly shirking.”


Media Contacts:

Elizabeth Bennett

Chair, AMSA Global Health Committee


Phone: 0409 269 093


Sibella Hare Breidahl

National Project Officer, Crossing Borders for Health


Phone: 0400103393

Published: 30 Aug 2017