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Solving problems such as poverty and homelessness is not simply a matter of resources. The most significant barriers to addressing these problems are often structural issues, such as discrimination, lack of political will and the way government systems work. Unless these barriers are addressed, such problems will be very difficult to resolve even if there are plenty of resources available.

Many of RCOA’s member organisations – such as Anglicare, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Life Without Barriers, Lutheran Community Care, the Salvation Army, the Sisters of Charity, the Sisters of Mercy, St Vincent de Paul Society and UnitingCare – work directly with some of the most disadvantaged people in Australia. They also support fair and humane policies towards refugees and asylum seekers. It is very telling that these organisations clearly do not see helping disadvantaged Australians and helping refugees and asylum seekers as being mutually exclusive.

It is also important to note that refugees are not simply a “drain” on resources. In fact, people from refugee backgrounds and their descendants make important contributions to Australia’s economy and society (see our response to the myth that refugees don’t contribute to Australian society in any meaningful way).