In Australia, when people from refugee backgrounds are settled into communities, there are many things for the (federal, state and local) governments to consider:
- education (including access to English language classes)
- finding employment
- community support services
- interpreters and translations
- finance / financial support
- mental health services.
Commonwealth government-funded programs
The federal government provides settlement services for people who arrive in Australia with a valid humanitarian visa through the:
- Department of Social Services’ Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP), helping people when they first arrive in Australia to find accommodation and become orientated with local services. There are many different service providers under the HSP, many of which can be located through the Department of Social Services » Settlement and Multicultural Affairs » Programs & Policy » Settlement Services » Humanitarian Settlement Program
Some service providers include:
- Settlement Grants Program (SGP), providing funding grants to organisations that support refugees with their ongoing settlement needs in Australia.
The federal government provides some assistance to people who arrive in Australia and seek asylum with no visa status, through the:
- Status Resolution Support Services (SRSS), providing some legal, financial and medical support for asylum seekers. Organisations such as Settlement Services International (SSI) administer this program through case managers who work with individuals and families, supporting them until their visa status is resolved.
NSW state government-funded and non-government organisations
There are also a number of NSW State Government funded organisations are involved in providing support for people from refugee backgrounds. Some of these include:
- The Commonwealth Department of Human Services » Migrants, Refugees and Visitors
- The NSW Refugee Health Service
- The NSW Department of Education and Communities » Teaching and learning » Curriculum » Multicultural education » Supporting refugee students
Many Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) also work in support of refugees, both in Australia and overseas. Some NGOs receive funding to deliver services and programs for refugees, such as:
- Counselling related services, for example:
- NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)
- Foundation House, Victoria
- Advocacy and campaign in support of refugee people, for example:
- Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN)
- Coalition for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD)
- Legal aid assistance, for example:
- Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS)
- Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS)
- Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC)
- Program and project support, for example:
integrated into their new communities. Some local councils have established Refugee Welcome Zones.
“A Refugee Welcome Zone is a Local Government Area which has made a commitment in spirit to welcoming refugees into the community, upholding the human rights of refugees, demonstrating compassion for refugees and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in the community.” Refugee Council of Australia [PDF]
The Refugee Council of Australia Settlement Policy Network highlights the importance of coordination between organisations working to provide services and support for people from refugee backgrounds.