Refugees' plight in focus at forum

FORUM: ASRC chief executive Kon Karapanagiotidis and advocacy and campaigns director Jana Favero with Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie. Photo: Supplied.
FORUM: ASRC chief executive Kon Karapanagiotidis and advocacy and campaigns director Jana Favero with Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie. Photo: Supplied.

A forum with Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) leaders is being held at McLaren Vale to update interested locals about its work with refugees in Australia.

Organised by Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie, the forum was meant to see ASRC chief executive Kon Karapanagiotidis and advocacy and campaigns director Jana Favero visit McLaren Vale Institute.

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, they cannot attend, but they will still give a presentation via online stream to the venue and it will be available to view online.

Ms Sharkie has had a long association with the pair, especially during the Medevac legislation in the previous parliament, and when they caught up earlier this year she suggested they visit to update people in Mayo about the Medevac asylum seekers and how they can help.

"Kon and Jana will be talking about the work of ASRC, the legacy of the Medevac legislation being overturned, the impact of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and what people can do to assist their work," she said.

While the pair can no longer visit, Welcoming Centre campaign manager Kate Leaney and Welcoming Australia advisory panel member Fida Hussain will attend.

The event date was set before the situation in Afghanistan escalated, but it "only makes the issue more relevant", Ms Sharkie said.

She is currently advocating for the government to transfer the 4427 recognised Afghan refugees living in Australia on temporary visas onto permanent residency visas.

"These people cannot go back to a war zone. They need certainty," she said.

"Minister Andrews (Karen Andrews, Minister for Home Affairs) says the government is working on a solution and has offered to meet with me to discuss the matter further. I will definitely be taking her up on that offer."

The event will be held at 1.30pm for 2pm until 3.30pm on Wednesday, October 13.

It will also be broadcast online - register at www.rebekhasharkie.com.au/ASRC

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