Amnesty bid to change refugee spon­sor­ship

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS -

VIC­TO­RIA Park res­i­dent Eleanor Cow­ell has branched out as an Amnesty In­ter­na­tional vol­un­teer and launched a spe­cific Vic­to­ria Park work­ing group.

The group, which started on Au­gust 2, is look­ing for new mem­bers to sup­port its first mis­sion – to bring a pe­ti­tion of more than 500 sig­na­tures to the Town of Vic­to­ria Park to en­dorse a mo­tion sup­port­ing changes needed within Aus­tralia’s com­mu­nity spon­sor­ship pro­gram for refugees.

The group plans to sub­mit the pe­ti­tion to coun­cil by De­cem­ber.

“Vic­to­ria Park is a pro­gres­sive town. It’s a refugee wel­come zone and so I thought would be a good place to start an Amnesty group,” Ms Cow­ell said.

“Com­mu­nity or pri­vate spon­sor­ship is an al­ter­na­tive method of refugee set­tle­ment that op­er­ates along­side Fed­eral govern­ment pro­grams. How­ever, at the mo­ment pri­vate spon­sor­ship is very ex­pen­sive, re­stric­tive and does not pro­vide ad­di­tional places over those al­lowed to be re­set­tled an­nu­ally.

“So es­sen­tially we want the Town’s sup­port in want­ing th­ese as­pects of the pro­gram changed, which is some­thing the City of Fre­man­tle has done.”

Amnesty Vic­to­ria Park will hold meet­ings on the first Mon­day of each month, where new mem­bers can get in­volved.

The next is Septem­ber 3 at the Dutch Trad­ing Co, from 7pm.

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