To: Daniel Andrews

Safe healthcare access for all

More than 80,000 people in Australia cannot access vital medical care without fear of deportation. Most of them are people of colour.

Because of their visa status, they do not have access to Medicare. Most are afraid to seek medical care because hospitals can report them to the Department of Home Affairs. No one should have to fear deportation or inhumane treatment when seeking healthcare.

This is a huge public health issue – individuals, families and the broader community are at risk. Without access to medical care for everyone, we cannot reduce the spread of COVID-19.

We’re calling for an information firewall between health providers and immigration agencies to prevent the sharing of sensitive information. A firewall means healthcare providers can focus on the most important job of all - keeping the community healthy.

Why is this important?

As COVID-19 changes the way we live and work, it’s essential that everyone has access to safe healthcare.

Yet there are tens of thousands of people living in Australia without access to Medicare. People who have to make the choice between risking deportation or seeking urgent medical help. They know that hospitals and doctors can report them to the Department of Home Affairs if questions are raised about their visa status.

With borders around the world closed and international flights costing upwards of $5000 per person, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are forced to face impossible choices.

The Morrison Government’s cruel directive that temporary migrants should just ‘go home’ forces thousands of people to make impossible choices, through no fault of their own.

In the midst of a global pandemic, people must be able to access essential healthcare without fear of deportation and family separation.