SA introduces new support package for Gaza refugees

From free hospital visits and dental care to food vouchers and metrocards, one state is moving to settle refugees fleeing violence in Gaza and Ukraine with a sweep of temporary benefits as they begin life anew in Australia.

South Australia Premier Peter Malinauskas, the grandson of Lithuanian and Hungarian refugees, announced the wide-ranging support package before the Little Amal puppet, now on display in Adelaide, which depicts a 3.5m-tall Syrian girl refugee.

“So much of our national identity has been borne of providing safe harbour to those fleeing violence in search of a better life,” the Premier said on Friday.

“I’m proud to lead a government which stepped in to support Ukrainians who found a new home here when Putin’s forces invaded their homeland.

“I’m equally proud now to be putting supports in place to support those fleeing violence in the Middle East.”

The state government will waive international students fees for school-age children, waive public hospital costs, offer free metrocards and $100 Foodland vouchers and provide free child dental care for refugees.

It will also help families access private rental homes through a scheme to cover bond and early rent payments and disability support and mental health services.

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians and Palestinians have been left homeless following the outbreak of war in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

The Ukraine war started in February 2022 when Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded the eastern regions of the country and tried to take the capital city Kyiv in a blitz assault.

The war in Israel started after Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel and slaughtered 1200 Jewish men, women and children.

The Israeli government responded with a bombing campaign in Gaza that has killed thousands of Palestinians, including men, women and children who are not connected to Hamas.

Australian Islamic Medical Association general secretary Noor Suhana Mohd said her organisation had been in contact with the Premier to advocate for healthcare access for Gazans fleeing violence.

“Children and adults alike most likely will be suffering for acute malnutrition due to months of famine,” she said.

“In order for medical practitioners to be able to assess and provide the much-needed care, access to health care services that are announced today are much welcomed.

“We will continue to advocate for more long-term and ongoing medical and mental health access, including supply of medications, in order to being able to support these individual in their journey of healing.”

It’s understood the support package will apply until new arrivals are able to access standard visa pathways that provide full work rights.

The same assistance will also be available to new arrivals fleeing the Ukraine conflict.

It’s understood there are less than 100 Gazan refugees in South Australia at present.

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