Melbourne News

The Catholic Church supports Premier Andrews’ offer

Tuesday 9 February 2016
Media and Communications Office

THE ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE, Denis Hart has today thrown his support behind Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in a bid to allow 267 asylum seekers to stay in Australia.

A High Court ruling last week allows the Federal Government to return these people – including 37 babies born in Australia - to Nauru however there is growing momentum to convince the Government that they be permitted to remain in Australia.

Archbishop Hart says ‘the Catholic Church in Victoria through a number of its social service organisations and healthcare providers is working collaboratively in the hope that its combined resources can be of benefit to those affected by last week’s decision’.

He says St Vincent’s Health (SVHA), Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Care are already working together to develop a new accommodation and support option for refugees.

Sheree Limbrick, Acting CEO at CatholicCare, says shared resources can ensure the 267 people seeking asylum have access to the vital community services they need to live in Australia.

Catholic Care together with Jesuit Social Services and MacKillop Family Services and with further support from the Catholic education sector (CEM), sees this as a real opportunity to contribute positively to a difficult situation.

Jesuit Social Services CEO Julie Edwards says ‘between our shared resources we can coordinate vital social welfare, health and education services to allow these vulnerable people to live in and contribute to our society, and in turn support Premier Andrews’ plea to let Victoria support the families faced with completely unjust and unmerciful actions in sending them to Nauru.’

Executive Director of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Stephen Elder OAM said ‘that Catholic education stands ready to support those children seeking a Catholic education’.

The Archbishop says that the Federal Government has an opportunity to show true leadership and compassion in allowing these people to stay in Australia rather than face unsafe conditions for an indefinite period on Nauru.

‘This is a chance to be viewed as the compassionate and democratic nation we claim to be. The community is rallying together to support these people, and we call on the Commonwealth Government to work with us and the Government of Victoria to provide a safe and secure home for those who have been deprived of this basic human right’.