04/05/2021 - 11:00

$2m for India COVID-19 relief

04/05/2021 - 11:00

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Indian community organisations are set to benefit from $2 million worth of grants as criticism of the federal government's use of the Biosecurity Act mounts.

$2m for India COVID-19 relief
India has recorded more than 200,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the pandemic began. Photo: Naveed Ahmed

Indian community organisations are set to benefit from $2 million worth of grants as criticism of the federal government's use of the Biosecurity Act mounts.

Announced earlier this morning, the program will be available to registered charities working with partners to provide on-the-ground support in India as it endures a particularly severe wave of COVID-19 infections.

New infections in that country regularly surpass more than 350,000 instances a day with more than 200,000 cumulative deaths since the pandemic began.

“We stand with the Indian community during this extremely challenging time,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

“This funding will help the local Indian community deliver more relief to people directly impacted in India.

“My thoughts and sympathies, and those of all Western Australians, are with everyone with family, friends and loved ones who have been affected by the current situation in India.”

Today’s announcement follows a chorus of criticisms raised by the federal opposition and other commentators about the nature of Australia’s travel ban with that country.

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese earlier this week said the federal government was abandoning Australians stranded abroad by instituting punitive measures under the Biosecurity Act 2015, while Matt Canavan, who served as resources minister between 2017 and 2020, called on the country to fix its quarantine system rather than enforce travel bans.

Former DFAT security Peter Varghese last week told Business News that the federal government should be careful in its rhetorical approach to travel bans, lest Indians perceive the ban as a form of discrimination.

The federal moratorium on arrivals is set to end on May 15.

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