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Refugee freedom walker reaches halfway point on 1000km trek to PM’s office

Union of Australian Refugees Media Release

Neil Para calls for supporters and politicians to join him as he walks 500km to the PM’s office in Sydney.

Refugee Neil Para today reached the halfway mark on his 1000km freedom walk to raise awareness of the impact of continuing uncertainty on refugees living in Australia.

Neil reached the 500km mark at The Rock on Saturday 19th, day nineteen of his walk.

With huge support from regional refugee advocacy groups, such as Rural Australians for Refugees, Neil will deliver a petition with 17,000 signatures to Mr Albanese’s office. While in Sydney, he will attend a refugee rally organised by Refugee Action Collective.

Neil will arrive in Sydney on 9 September at 4pm.

“I have been overwhelmed by the support throughout Victoria and New South Wales, with positive responses from local communities, politicians and councillors, media, and with refugees and supporters travelling across Victoria and interstate to walk with me. Yet I still have not had a response to my invitation to meet with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.”

Neil is calling for supporters to:

  • join him on the second half of his trek, leaving The Rock on Sunday 20thand arriving in Sydney on 9 September,
  • walk with him on the leg from Liverpool to Marrickville arriving on 9 September at 4pm, and
  • phone and email local MPs, Prime Minister Albanese and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles seeking support so that refugees living in the Australian community for more than 10 years are not left behind.

The coalition of refugee groups supporting Neil’s walk includes Refugee Action Collective, Rural Australians for Refugees and People Like Us.

The coalition has pressed decision-makers not to overlook the legacy caseload of around 10,000 refugees who have been living in the Australian community for 10 years without certainty.

Margaret O’Donnell of Ballarat Rural Australians for Refugees said:

“We welcome the news of the ALP’s intention to introduce policy reforms which could substantially lessen the mental health impact for people seeking asylum in Australia.”

“However, it is disappointing that around 10,000 refugees who came to Australia more than 10 years ago continue to be forgotten. This announcement further exacerbates their feelings of being in limbo and the distress caused by restrictions on work, tertiary study, family reunion and their children’s future. We urgently call upon Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Immigration Minister Andrew Giles to provide certainty and hope for these 10,000 refugees, which includes Neil, [his wife] Sugaa and their three girls.”




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1 comment

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  1. Harry Lime

    As has been stated elsewhere,Albanese can actually demonstrate his commitment to a humane solution to this intractable(politically) problem, by showing some genuine empathy…meet with Neil and get some people on the case…urgently.Katherine Murphy wrote a few weeks ago about Albanese appealing to Australia’s’ better angels ‘regarding the Voice,here is another opportunity.If he fobs it off, then that will be taken by many voters as running scared of Murdoch’s rabid garbage, and boofhead Dutton’s foghorn mouth.Real leadership is demanded.

    Rotten policy should be ditched.

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