TO: The Hon. Scott Morrison, MP Prime Minister of Australia
FROM: The Australian Fashion Industry
Dear Prime Minister,
As members of the Australian fashion and textile industry, we, the 52 companies listed below, write to express our deep concern for the evolving situation in Afghanistan and to call on the Australian Government to urgently increase its efforts to resettle Afghan refugees.
The fashion and textile industry represents an important sector of the Australian economy having contributed more than $27.2 billion to Australia’s economy last year.
As a sector, we stand ready to support refugees from Afghanistan to build safe and fulfilling lives in Australia. This is something we have done before. Australia has a long tradition of responding decisively and generously to humanitarian crises, as demonstrated by special intakes of Albanian Kosovars in 1999 and Vietnamese refugees following the Vietnam war as well as more recently, with the intake of refugees from Syria and Iraq. Numerous members of these communities have been employed by the Australian fashion sector, especially in manufacturing. We can do it again.
Fashion labels such as The Social Outfit have made it their raison d'être to train and employ refugees to put them on a path to successful integration and the Australian fashion and textile industry is committed to continue supporting this work.
The enormity of the present crisis and the threat it poses to life and freedom cannot be underestimated and warrants a similar increased humanitarian intake as has been extended in previous crises. This has been recognised by Canada and the United Kingdom with each committing to taking 20,000 Afghan refugees.
In addition, it is critical that family reunion, especially for immediate family, be prioritised and urgently expedited. There are many Australian residents and citizens with immediate family in Afghanistan. Many of them are employed in our sector and we have seen first-hand how settlement cannot be achieved without family reunion. The current situation calls for a renewed action in facilitating family reunion.
Further, all Afghan refugees and asylum seekers in Australia must be granted permanent protection in light of the changed circumstances in Afghanistan. These individuals will not be able to return to Afghanistan with the Taliban in power. Given they are likely to be in Australia indefinitely, they should be granted permanency as this is critical in being able to fully participate and contribute to life in Australia.
In closing, we wish to reiterate to the government our willingness to support all Afghans seeking safety in Australia, and our readiness to support Australia in increasing its humanitarian commitment to the people of Afghanistan.
Artisans of Fashion
Australian Fashion Council
Cloth and Co
Corban & Blair
Doodad and Fandango
Ginger and Smart
Juju and Co
Luna and Sun
Peter Simon Phillips
Romance was Born
The Common Good
The Social Outfit
The Very Good Bra