On 28 May 2020, the Refugee Council of Australia made a submission to the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19, on Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Refugee Council recognised the steps that the Australian Government had taken to respond to this global pandemic and the resulting public health and economic crises. Much of this response is welcome and has put Australia in a strong position to weather the pandemic and its impacts.
Unfortunately, there remains major gaps in the response, with people seeking asylum and temporary visa holders – including recognised refugees – suffering the same uncertainty and fear that all Australian feel but without the basic safety net and support to help them get through this challenging time.
This submission focuses on the situation of people in immigration detention and those subject to offshore processing, as well as people seeking asylum and refugees on temporary protection visas. It examines measures taken to ensure their safety and health and puts forward a number of recommendations.