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Media Release - Neil Para's Walk for Refugees Welcomed in Wollondilly

6th September 2023.

Walk for Refugees Welcomed in Wollondilly.

Judy Hannan MP today met with Sri Lankan refugee Neil Para on his walk to call for signatures for his petition to the Federal Parliament.

Starting on 1 August, Neil is close to ending his 1,000km walk from Ballarat to Prime Minister Albanese’s electorate office in Marrickville.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with Neil and hear of his journey to get his family to Australia. I am saddened to hear of the limbo and delays that he has had to accept and has no option to change” said Judy Hannan MP.

Neil’s petition has called for the end of uncertainty for the 10,000 refugees that applied but are not currently accepted in with the Government announced Resolution of Status (RoS) scheme that was opened to refugees who held Temporary Protection and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas. 19,000 refugees are on a pathway but are still awaiting citizenship and family reunion.

“Hearing of the differences Neil’s 10 year old daughter Nive has was heartbreaking. Many wouldn’t be aware that Nive, despite having been born here, has been told she needs to wait until 16 to share the same rights that other children have, " said Judy Hannan MP.

“I was also heartened to hear of the community of Ballarat, much like my own here in Wollondilly that hosted part of Neil’s journey. I have great hope that the Prime Minister will listen to Neil about his family’s journey and the need to end uncertainty" said Judy Hannan MP.

Judy Hannan MP was also presented a book Smiles for Masks - My Story - My Family's story - Our Story - A plight without an end in sight by Neil Para.

"Once again let's be equal
Don't get cauight up in political tantrums
Come on we know better
With that in mind let's unite
And welcome refugees
The souls who flee" -  Neil Para, unnamed prose 2022.

Neil’s journey will continue from outside Tahmoor Subway at 8am 7 September 2023.

The petition for signing is available here: