CATH NEWS REPORT: A religious sister who works with refugees in the Hunter in NSW said housing is substandard and refugee families in the region live in squalor, reports the ABC.
One of the refugee families this week had new lounge chairs delivered, their shower was fixed and they were given new appliances - but the items were removed only a couple of days later.Sister Diana Santleben, who works with the Josephite Refugee Support Network based at Penola House in Hamilton, said she was gobsmacked to hear a refugee family had new furniture taken from their house the day after an Immigration inspection.
"They'd lived two months in this house with a shower that didn't work and lounge chairs that were ripped and filthy," Sister Diana says.
"The stove didn't work, the washing machine didn't work at all.
"The mother of the family is nine months pregnant and she's got seven children and she has to do all the washing by hand.
She said the place was filthy when the family arrived two months ago, and still has rubbish and broken furniture on the yard from previous tenants.
Sister Diana says the family were happy on Wednesday this week that their service provider had delivered new furniture.
The immigration department inspected the house yesterday.
"I went there again this morning and I was gobsmacked," she said.
"The lovely new furniture is all gone."
She said the refugee family doesn't speak English so don't understand why the new furniture was removed, apparently by the same person who delivered it, and the old, damaged and dirty furniture returned.
The Navitas consortium, formerly known as ACL, has won another three-year Federal Government contract to provide education, health care and other support for refugees relocating to the Hunter.
Navitas has sent a statement to the ABC saying it takes allegations of such nature very seriously and will fully investigate the claims.
The Federal Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen says his Department will also investigate.