CRS Presidents Update

CRS support

Now that we are out of the holiday season and well into 2023, I thought I would take the opportunity to give you a fairly comprehensive update on the situation facing CRS.

The good news is that CRS members are currently providing good neighbour support for around 38 families and two single men. This involves everything from assisting people access services, applying for jobs, finding training opportunities and enrolling children in recreational supporting activities. This is largest number of families that we have ever been involved in supporting. This is an amazing effort. I want to thank all our members for their generous contributions whether of time, finances or ideas and connections.

Partnerships with other agencies involved with refugees are really important. CRS has regular monthly meetings with Companion House and St Vincent de Paul to coordinate support for the most vulnerable asylum seeker families, to ensure that no-one slips through the cracks and our limited resources are spread in the most effective way. We also have a similar monthly meeting with the Red Cross Humanitarian Support team to ensure coordination of support for humanitarian refugees settling in Canberra focusing recently on the settlement of recent Afghan refugees.

Geoff McPherson Education Awards

CRS is commencing planning for our Geoff McPherson Education Awards (formerly Scholarship) event in Refugee Week this year. If anyone is interested in helping run this event, please contact Jane Lake ( who is the committee member who is coordinating the planning.

CRS is currently planning to make awards to a total of $26,000. We have received community grants from ACTEWAGL and from the ACT Government. We still need to raise a further $7,000 for the Education Awards in 2023.

CRS will be participating in the Hands Across Canberra appeal in early March. This will present an opportunity for people to donate to CRS. The funds raised will go towards both the Education Awards program. We will provide more information about this fundraising campaign shortly.

ACT Government Advocacy

CRS has been active in partnership with Companion House and St Vincent de Paul in advocating with the ACT Government on behalf of asylum seekers. The ACT Government has recently announced two initiatives that will assist asylum seekers:

  • An extension of a program of emergency rental support for Men and Women with Uncertain Immigration Status in the ACT that has been running successfully for the past few years. The planned extension has just gone out to the sector for comment so we don’t have details yet as to exactly how it will work, who will deliver it and how many families it will cover.
  • ACT Service Access card holders as well as Australian low-income health care card holders will receive free registration from July 1though they will still need to pay other fees, including the road safety contribution and motor accident levy. This is great news for many of our families who are struggling meeting increasing living costs. Access to a care is important for many families who are working shift work where public transport may frequently not be an option.

Warm regards

Doug Hynd


Canberra Refugee Support