THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, NSW
Mike Baird grants discounted travel to asylum seekers
Asylum seekers in NSW will be eligible for the most generous travel concessions in the country, after Premier Mike Baird said the state had a responsibility to help those who had nowhere else to turn.
Asylum seekers who meet certain criteria will, from next year, be eligible for travel at $2.50 a day – the same travel concession available to those on the Gold Pension Concession Card.
“NSW is Australia’s economic powerhouse, but there is little point in having a strong economy unless we use this strength to help the vulnerable among us,” Mr Baird said in a statement.
“NSW has shown we are prepared to help asylum seekers in our community and we want to do even more,” he said.
Mr Baird said: “Until now, it has been the non-government community agencies funding transport for asylum seekers in NSW. This change allows those NGOs to be putting more of their limited resources into food, counselling and housing – where it is needed most.”
Transport Minister Andrew Constance said: “We are providing these travel discounts to asylum seekers to help them participate more fully in our society and access a range of social and community services.
“Many of the asylum seekers in NSW are at the very start of the process of applying for a protection visa. This means that they need access to a wide range of services in order to navigate this process and rebuild their lives.”