Refugee Council of Australia
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Starving them out: How our government is making people seeking asylum destitute

Future reductions to the SRSS program

Imminent changes to the design of the SRSS program will see eligibility for the program further restricted and the number of people able to access support under SRSS further reduced. The Government indicated that people who have work rights and do not meet a high threshold of vulnerability are expected to secure employment and will be exited from the program, whether they have employment or not. People will be expected to find employment without further employment support. Currently, people on bridging visas can only get support under Stream A of the jobactive program. This is a stream designed for the people who are most job ready and require minimal support from the providers. It mainly includes providing access to a computer and the Internet.

In the next few months, SRSS providers and the Department will assess the vulnerability of all current SRSS recipients.

The four elements to the vulnerability assessment are:

  • Physical health barriers that are ongoing; permanent disability; or cognitive impairment
  • Mental health barriers, with a current diagnosis and treatment plan in place
  • Single parents with pre-school aged children (children under six); pregnant women with complications; a primary carer for someone with a significant vulnerability; people aged 70 and over
  • A major crisis for the client (family violence, house fire, flood, etc)

The Department will also use its own information to conduct assessments (the Community Protection Assessment Tool, CPAT) and may seek a second opinion on certain issues via experts, e.g. for health matters it may use the Chief Medical Officer.

Timeframe

  • 9 April 2018: the Department provides a list of all single adult men and women with work rights on Band 6 to SRSS providers (“first wave”). It excludes certain Red Cross and Marist 180 clients, as these providers have not had their contracts renewed. The assessment of these clients is delayed until July 2018. SRSS providers conduct vulnerability assessments and must report back to the Department by 7 May 2018. There will be approximately 3,000 people in this wave.
  • 1 May 2018: new SRSS Program model will apply to all new applicants.
  • 7 May 2018: deadline for SRSS providers to provide details of vulnerability to the Department on “first wave” clients for consideration
  • 21 May 2018: Department notifies SRSS providers about families in Band 6 who have work rights (“second wave”).
  • 4 June 2018 (this has now been delayed): First wave clients not identified as having an excluding vulnerability will be notified of exit from the SRSS program and will have 7-10 days to transition off, whether they have employment or not.

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