Media release – 13 February 2024
Australia's inaugural Big Walk 4 Refugees (13 Feb-26 Mar) launches today with a 16,650 km virtual walk from Hobart to Canberra to show support for 10,000 refugees who continue to face prolonged uncertainty in Australia.
Mums, dads and children - people all around the country are being urged to don their walking shoes and get moving, sending a message that 10,000 refugees living in our communities should be able to finally call Australia home.
The steps that people take locally will propel the 16,650 km country-wide loop right around Australia, culminating with a final local walk to Parliament House for the last leg on Tuesday 26 March.
The Big Walk is inspired by the courageous journeys of asylum seekers who walked and cycled thousands of kilometres across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT in 2023 calling for visa certainty.
Neil Para started the movement with his 1000 km trek to Sydney. Twenty-two women then walked 640 km from Melbourne to Canberra. Fifteen women walked 300 km from Sydney to Canberra. Ex-cricketer Thienushan Chandrasekaram cycled 1400 km from Brisbane to Sydney and Canberra.
The virtual walk launches today with a local walk in Ballarat, the hometown of Neil Para. The walk leaves from Ballarat Town Hall, 3pm, with Neil, the women who walked from Melbourne to Canberra, and local supporters.
?♂️?♀️?♂️???How can you participate? Walk, run, cycle, swim, dance, row, or even skip! Just sign up, join a team, and sync your activity with the Big Walk app.
Your efforts will power our virtual walk to Canberra. You can create your own team with family, friends, or colleagues, or join one of our pre-set teams for each state and territory.
Let's mark the one-year anniversary of the government's announcement for 19,000 refugees while remembering the 10,000 who are still waiting for permanent visas after being part of our communities for more than 10 years.
Dulce Munoz Garcia, National Convenor, Mums 4 Refugees, said
“This is more than a walk; it's a movement for change happening right around the country. Stand with us to support those who've called Australia home for over a decade yet still face an uncertain future.”
The Big Walk 4 Refugees is supported nationally by the Australian Refugee Action Network, Rural Australians for Refugees, Refugee Action Collective Victoria and Mums 4 Refugees.
16,650 km virtual walk around Australia
Australians urged to get moving, get fit, and show their support for 10,000 refugees to living in our communities to be able to call Australia home
The Big Walk 4 Refugees is a virtual walk of 16,650 km all around Australia so that people in all states and territories can show their active support for 10,000 refugees who have been living in Australia for 10 years and are part of our community - but still in limbo. The Big Walk is a nation-wide event supported by Rural Australians for Refugees, the Australian Refugee Action Network, Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) and Mums 4 Refugees
Sandy Watson, Rural Australians for Refugees, 0401714880
Marie Hapke, Australian Refugee Action Network, 0409252673