Australia: Asylum seekers made to feel at home, thanks to a $10,000 welcome pack
ASYLUM seekers are receiving welcome packs of furnishings worth up to $10,000 and food hampers as they wait for their refugee claims to be processed.
Beds, fridges, mattresses, couches and items such as alarm clock radios, clothes hangers and containers for biscuits are being bought in a “household goods formation package” that contains more than 60 items.
The package includes a television with a minimum screen size of 53cm.
A family of five in community detention is eligible for goods valued at $7100.
Families of more than nine can receive up to $9850 in furnishings, the federal Opposition said after Senate hearings this week.
Asylum seeker families in Sydney arrive to a hamper of bread, butter, milk, eggs, other essentials, and cleaning products. Families with a baby can access a $750 pack of basic supplies, while phone and electricity connections are also paid for.
The assistance is on top of free doctors’ visits, dental care, pharmaceuticals, and education, and payments of up to $433.25 a fortnight.
Asylum seekers are not allowed to work.
In Sydney suburbs, 97 homes are being rented at an average cost of $416 a week. Nationally, almost 1600 asylum seekers are being housed in community detention.
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the Government was being responsible in providing basic provisions while asylum seekers’ claims were being assessed.
“People do not get to keep the goods. They remain in a house when a family moves out and are used by the next people who move in,” he said.
“These people are not allowed to work.”
The Red Cross provides the packages.
“They are basic supplies. We are not talking about luxury here,” the Red Cross’s spokesman, Michael Raper, said.