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.
External government-funded programs
The federal government provides settlement services for people who arrive in Australia with a valid humanitarian visa through the:
- Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) program, 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 HSS program, all of which can be located through the Department of Social Services » Our Responsibilities » Settlement and Multicultural Affairs » Programs & Policy » Settlement Services.
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 with arrive in Australia and seek asylum with no visa status, through the:
- Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme (ASAS), providing some legal, financial and medical support for asylum seekers.
Organisations such as Red Cross Australia administer this program, as well as providing community assistance support and support for asylum seekers living in community detention.
Internal government-funded programs
There are a number of government departments that provide direct support to people from refugee backgrounds.
- The Commonwealth Department of Human Services » Migrants, Refugees and Visitors
- The NSW Refugee Health Service
- The NSW Department of Education and Communities » Learning and Teaching » Yrs K-12 Focus Areas » Refugee Support Programs
Local government councils have an essential role to play in ensuring that refugees are welcomed and 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]
Many Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) 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:
- Legal aid assistance, for example:
- Program and project support, for example:
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.