Refugee settlement services to change
Friday, 25 September 2009 - Released by Laurie Ferguson MP
A new flexible client centred approach will be the focus of Australian settlement services, the Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services, Laurie Ferguson, announced today in Brisbane.
The new directions follow a national consultation process conducted in mid-2009 on the government's Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy (IHSS).
About 500 people attended 17 consultation sessions conducted across Australia, representing more than 210 community organisations and at least 80 government agencies.
In addition, 195 refugees from 18 different ethnic backgrounds participated in focus groups.
'The consultations revealed gaps and issues around isolation, lack of youth engagement, access to education and employment, and some weaknesses in cultural orientation,'Mr Ferguson said.
'In certain instances clients spoke of 'tick and flick' services - feeling as though they were not provided with enough tangible assistance or support beyond the first few weeks.
'We are taking this feedback on board and it will be central to the redevelopment of new settlement programs.'
Key features of the reshaped model will include an onshore cultural orientation program, tailored case management, a greater youth focus, better coordination of services and more effective links with other settlement programs.
'We are also considering improvements to accommodation services and facilitating pathways to education and employment,'Mr Ferguson said.
'We need to give refugees greater hands-on support and guidance to navigate a new life in Australia. A flexible, client-focused approach will help start refugees on the right path, tapping into their strengths, and helping them to fully participate in the Australian community.'
A request for tender for the new initial settlement program will be issued in the coming months.
Media contact: Carla Wilshire 0432 755 935
Last update: 05 March 2012 at 16:27 AEST