Christian leaders send a 'thank you' to the PM for COVID aid package

Micah Australia’s Tim Costello, Matt Darvas and Beck Wilesmith hand-delivered a letter of thanks to Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison in Canberra yesterday.

The “thank you” letter was CC’d to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, and Minister for Health Greg Hunt.

Frydenberg met with the trio, receiving the letter on behalf of the Prime Minster who was in quarantine, following his return from a trip to Japan.

“We are writing to collectively acknowledge and thank you for the recent announcements made to assist our regional neighbours during this difficult time of COVID,” begins the letter signed by church, and other Christian, leaders.

“In August we wrote to you as a part of the End COVID For All Campaign (co-initiated by Micah Australia), joining with thousands of Australians in asking the government to not forget our neighbours at this time, but to provide vital support to vulnerable nations.

“We are grateful for your response to that letter.

“Now, we are pleased to send this additional letter to acknowledge the decisive action taken over the past few months by the Coalition.”

Just over three months ago, the #EndCOVIDForAll campaign gathered a collective group of more than 50 international aid and development organisations who supported the assistance of vulnerable nations in the light of COVID-19. Together, they brought unlikely partners together – from Australian television celebrities to Christian church leaders, a UN Ambassador, health experts and an Islamic scholar – in a united call.

Posting masked-up selfies on World Humanitarian Day (August 19), Australians called on our governmental leaders to take tangible steps to end COVID for all – not only Australians.

In particular, they called for assistance to be provided to Australia’s regional “neighbours” such as Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, who were struggling to contain the virus. They faced dire forecasts about death tolls and economic impact.

To date, 25, 477 people have signed the #EndCOVIDForAll pledge.

“It’s appropriate that we recognise our political leaders … for the stand they have taken.” – Matt Darvas

Since then, the Australian Government responded and several measures were highlighted in the “thank you” letter.

“In particular, we wanted to acknowledge the following five announcements:
– $80 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment to ensure vulnerable nations get access to a COVID-19 vaccine.
– $304.7 million COVID-19 Recovery Fund for the Pacific and Timor-Leste, to help with the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
– $523 million Health Security and Vaccine Access Initiative to assist in the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine to the Pacific and South East Asia.
– $1.5 billion standby loan to Indonesia to boost its economic recovery and tackle coronavirus.
– $550 million to assist South East Asia with new development, security and economic programs.

Australia has stepped up and responded, looking not only to our own interests, but to the interests of our neighbours (Philippians 2:4).”

National Director at Micah Australia Matt Darvas explained to Eternity why the organisation prepared a co-signed letter and video, just to say ‘thank you’.

“Saying ‘thank you’ does much more than just express gratitude,” said Darvas. “It says to our leaders that when they make bold choices and step-up Australia’s commitment to the worlds’ poor, Christians will stand with them.

“We appreciate the fact it takes leadership to choose to ‘End Covid for All’ and continue to turn outwards and assist our neighbours. The government has shown this leadership and it’s appropriate that we recognise our political leaders – who are doing their best in a difficult job – for the stand they have taken.”

“What we heard in our meetings with politicians today, is that having the support of Christians and the Church in Australia is important, and it does help them make bold decisions like these.”

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