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Australian Settlement Policy

The Missing Workers: Regional Australia Institute

The Settlement Council of Australia endorses the work of the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) to explore regional settlement and promote a national policy that better facilitates rural and regional settlement of migrants, including refugees. We were proud to represent the settlement sector at a national roundtable hosted by RAI at Old Parliament House on 1 November 2017 and had been eagerly awaiting the release of RAI's report "The Missing Workers", which was launched at Parliament House on 22 May 2018. We welcome this Report and the policy implications it makes, and suggest that this represents a practical and positive way that Australia can support migrants who have the potential to reinvigorate our rural and regional communities. As set out in our recent media release, SCoA believes that migrants present a great opportunity for regional Australia and benefit is to be had by all if a proper system of supported settlement in regional locations is established. Here is what RAI had to say about their report:
In 151 regional Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the country, the numbers of overseas-born residents are increasing, while the number of Australian-born residents is decreasing. Population loss means there are still labour shortages in rural Australia. This loss requires new strategies to enable migration to better meet local labour needs. One way to tackle this issue is through locally-led migration strategies. Support for these projects across rural Australia is key to future population and economic growth in small towns. Supported by literature and analysis from the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), this policy paper is based on discussions between regional settlement representatives at Migration Nation, a RAI roundtable event held at Old Parliament House on 1 November 2017 as well as consultations with governments and community groups.
Access the report here In addition to the Report, RAI have released a series of Community Narratives that demonstrate just how well locally-led community support for migrants is already working across the country. These well-researched narratives provide ample inspiration for others interested in harnessing the power of migration. We congratulate RAI on this work as well as the various individuals, NGOs and government agencies that supported it.

Regional Settlement in NSW: Multicultural NSW

In November 2017, the NSW Government hosted a Regional Settlement Forum in Albury, which looked at ways that migration could enhance business performance and help to build communities in regional NSW. Regional settlement has been a topic of growing importance in recent months and the report of the Regional Settlement Forum is well worth a read. The Forum and its Report build on the previously released good practice guide "Refugee Settlement in Regional Areas". SCoA was pleased to attend this Forum and looks forward to continuing its work in support of regional settlement options. Read the Report below.

A National Compact on Permanent Migration: 4 May 2018

On Friday 4  May 2018, the Settlement Council of Australia added its support to the movement by peak industry and union bodies, together with key community organisations, to reaffirm our unified commitment to Australia's migration program. In a unique and unprecedented development, the National Compact on Permanent Migration represents a strong consensus on the need to maintain Australia's successful nation building program. SCoA Chairperson, Dewani Bakkum said on Friday, "Australia, its economy and its people thrive thanks in part to the maintenance of a well-supported, welcoming and inclusive migration program." SCoA CEO, Nick Tebbey, said "As the peak body for Australia's dynamic settlement sector, SCoA, through its members, sees the true value of the contribution that migrants make, and will continue to make, to our great nation. At the same time, we see the challenges that migrants face when settling here, and the need to properly support them through well calibrated, flexible settlement services, that empower migrants to reach their potential." SCoA members across the nation are in the strongest position to assist migrants in achieving effective settlement outcomes and, together with appropriate government support, play a pivotal role in enhancing and ensuring the contributions that migrants make to Australia. "SCoA welcomes the opportunity to join the call for a renewed commitment to our migration program and is confident this is the best way to ensure Australia's continued economic success, and to cement our place as one of the world's leading multicultural nations" Ms Bakkum said. Read the National Compact here For more information, contact our national office on 02 6282 8515 or

National Settlement Services Outcomes Standards

A key objective of SCoA in recent years has been to develop a set of national standards for the delivery of settlement services which identify target outcomes across 9 key areas of settlement service delivery. The National Settlement Services Outcomes Standards (“NSSOS”) were officially launched at the International Conference of the SCoA in Melbourne in May 2016 and identify nine areas of equal importance that enable members to benchmark their service delivery against key practical considerations that contribute to successful settlement. Rather than attempting to impose new regulatory burdens on agencies operating in the settlement services sector, these standards reflect best practice and highlight the considerable work and commitment invested by SCoA members to ensure the best possible outcomes for recently arrived migrants.

International Migration and Employment Growth in Australia 2011-16

The first issue of Australian Population Studies contains an insightful article examining the impact of migration on employment growth in Australia over the five year period: 2011-16. The article is available for free on the journal's website. Click here to view.

What can the census tell us about refugees in Australia?

In September 2017, SCOA CEO, Nick Tebbey, was consulted by global news company Devex in relation to research it was conducting following the release of the Australian Census. The research looked at the location of refugees across Australia, their nationalities and the lessons that could be drawn from this information about Australia's response to the global refugee crisis. The article discusses the settlement experiences of refugees in Australia, and provides a useful interactive tool for exploring this issue. View the article here.

Building a New Life in Australia: 27 November 2017

Stories of Making Australia Home

SCoA member, Sydwest Multicultural Services has created an inspiring book which shares the stories of some of Australia's newest citizens. Exploring themes of employment, education, health, social engagement, family and many more, this collection of stories is a message of hope and a celebration of all that Australia stands to gain by welcoming refugees and helping them settle.

See the report here.

Empowering Migrant and Refugee Women

This report explores various aspects of service delivery to migrant women who have been living in Australia for at least five years. It documents the nature and types of service available, and identifies best practice principles and key service gaps in service delivery for migrant and refugee women. This report also outlines key priorities for addressing these service gaps.

View the report here.

NSW Settlement Partnership – In Focus

The New South Wales Settlement Partnership In Focus Publication The NSW Settlement Partnership recently launched the report "In Focus" an overview of the Partnership and its amazing work across New South Wales. To access the report and read about some of the work of the NSP, click here.

Scanlon Foundation Social Cohesion Report – 2017

Census 2016: Cultural Diversity in Australia

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released a number of interesting data sets arising from the 2016 Census.

Data describing Australia's rich cultural diversity has been compiled into a useful report which can be accessed here.

Settlement Grants Program Evaluation Briefing Paper: February 2017

Settlement Services grants (SGP) are an important element of the government’s broad commitment to settlement services, and are designed to provide a varied range of projects aimed at assisting migrants as they settle into their new homes. SGP has evolved and been refined over many years resulting in a robust grants program that is closely aligned to client needs and which successfully leverages the strong connections agencies have within their communities. The specialist knowledge of agencies and staff has been built up over time resulting in settlement agencies generating significant expertise in program delivery and risk management. Briefing paper released in February 2017.

Fundamentals of Effective Settlement 2017

SCoA Briefing Paper – Multiculturalism Alive and Well in Australia: November 2016

SCoA Regional Settlement Policy Paper: November 2016

Much of the discourse around Australia’s immigration policy focusses on the number of migrants granted permission to enter the country each year. This is increasingly contentious in relation to Australia’s refugee and humanitarian programme, where numbers remain at the forefront of public debate. Also contentious is the make-up of the programme itself: the skills, origins, health and character of migrants and the way in which they are selected. A vital element that remains absent from the majority of debate, however, is the distribution of those migrants on their arrival in Australia...

Beginning a Life in Australia

The Department of Social Services (DSS) has prepared a comprehensive information booklet detailing key information for those building their lives in Australia. The booklet provides helpful settlement information, including links to other resources, for people who have recently come to Australia and people who are helping them. Available on the DSS website in over 20 languages, the book is of great value and highly recommended.

Building a new life in Australia


The Building a New Life in Australia project is a longitudinal study of refugees in Australia and maps their experiences over a series of years. This study is being undertaken by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, with information collected by Colmar Brunton Social Research. The project is commissioned and funded by the Department of Social Services.

Building a New Life in Australia aims to identify factors that impact the settlement of humanitarian migrants in Australia, in the hope that it will help improve policy development and program delivery for Australia's settlement sector.

In 2017, the AIFS will be releasing its first comprehensive release of the study's findings.

For more information, visit the project, here.