Mrs Ward said the NSW government was committed to providing ongoing support to the Afghan Australian community. She said she had met with the Federal Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke, “to strongly advocate for a higher uptake of Afghans to join us here in Australia”.
Mrs Ward is one of nearly 60 NSW MPs representing the Labor Party, Coalition, Greens, Christian Democratic Party and other crossbenchers who have signed a petition calling on the federal government to increase its refugee intake from Afghanistan. The petition says that while Australia’s willingness to accept at least 3,000 Afghan refugees was welcome, it ‘far from lacks’ commitments from other countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, each of which has committed to resettling 20,000 refugees.
Ms Ward said Afghan arrivals were eligible for support under a $ 6.25 million NSW government funding package to provide assistance to temporary visa holders and asylum seekers. An additional $ 8.5 million over three years would be spent on support programs for refugees, new and new communities in the NSW budget for 2021-2022.
“This funding includes support to connect with education and health services and community and settlement services that promote employment opportunities and social connectivity,” she said.
Ms Nassrat has worked as a tax agent and business adviser for 15 years in Sydney and has also helped Afghan refugees find jobs and settle into society. She worked for the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières and for UNICEF in Afghanistan and Pakistan before coming to Australia after the Taliban took over in the late 1990s. She was forced to leave the country because the Taliban considered the organizations she worked for “foreign”, endangering her life.
An Afghan refugee who arrived in Sydney in September with his wife and three young children and had worked for the Australian Embassy in Kabul in safety is among the 30 families she now helps. asked the man The Herald not to publish his name to protect the extended family in Afghanistan.
He said he was grateful to have found refuge in Australia and for Mrs Nassrat’s help, and now he hoped that he and his wife, who worked as a midwife in Afghanistan, would soon find work. His children are about to start school.
“We were not safe in Afghanistan,” he said. “They would have killed me.”