Government Engagement and Publications
Department of Health: Consultation on Implementation Plans for the Combined National BBV and STI Strategies
On 22 January, SCoA made a submission to the Consultation on Implementation Plans for the Combined National Blood Borne Virus (BBV) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Strategies. SCoA made several general endorsements and recommendations regarding elements of the Implementation Plans that directly impact our members and their clients. These includes implementing targeted age, language and culturally appropriate prevention education initiatives for CALD communities, engaging settlement service providers and increasing the capacity of culturally appropriate health services, including multicultural and multilingual health professionals and educators.
Department of Home Affairs: Consultation on Australia’s 2019-2020 Migration Program
On 24 January, SCoA attended the Department of Home Affairs’ annual consultation into the planning of the Australian Migration Program in Sydney. Along with approximately 15 other industry stakeholders, SCoA engaged in high-level discussion with departmental representatives about the future of the Migration Program and the impact of recent changes on security, stability and settlement prospects for all migrants. SCoA emphasised the need for a more holistic consideration of settlement and called for decisions impacting all migrants to be viewed in light of their long-term settlement prospects.
Department of Home Affairs: Submission on Australia’s 2019-2020 Migration Program
On 31 January, SCoA made a submission to the Department of Home Affairs’ consultation on Australia’s 2019-2020 Migration Program. In responding to Discussion Paper questions, SCoA emphasised the importance of understanding and celebrating the value of migration, and considered that too much of the debate concerning Australia’s Migration Program focuses on visa classes and eligibility, to the detriment of broader, more long-term considerations of a migrant and their family’s settlement journey following arrival in Australia. SCoA made 5 Recommendations in response to the Discussion paper.
Australian Digital Health Agency: My Health Record Consultation
On 12 and 13 February 2019, SCoA attended two My Health Record community education consultation workshops run by the Australian Digital Health Agency. The Agency sought feedback on the distinct needs of parents and families, and older Australians in relation to the use and access of their My Health Record. Following on from SCoA’s advocacy and promotion around My Health Record, SCoA attended these workshops to emphasise the unique and diverse needs of newly arrived migrants and refugees, and CALD communities within these cohorts. In particular, SCoA highlighted the need the need for in-language and translated resources and communication, and the need to explore different and accessible ways of disseminating information.
Joint Release of Report into Support Needs of Newly Arrived Refugees with a Disability
On 20 February, SCoA joined with RCOA, NEDA and FECCA to release a new report outlining the significant obstacles faced by refugees with disability who are living in Australia. The Report, entitled Barriers and Exclusions: the support needs of newly arrived refugees with a disability, is based on consultations with affected individuals and service providers. It reveals that despite policy improvements which have enabled more refugees with disabilities to settle in Australia, many people still face barriers to resettlement upon arrival. The report identifies a number of hurdles including access to timely assessment and support; provision of essential equipment and aides; lack of accessible and appropriate housing; inadequate support within the NDIS; lack of culturally appropriate disability services; and lack of translating and interpreting services within disability services and the NDIS.
Events around the country
Economic Security for Women (ES4W) Roundtable
On 12 February 2019, SCoA attended the roundtable on “Boosting Economic Security for All Women Living in Australia” in Canberra. The event was hosted by the eS4W Alliance and supported by FECCA, NEDA, AWAVA and Harmony Alliance, and featured a range of inspiring panelists from each organisation. The day focused on the challenges faced by women from CALD backgrounds and how they can impact their economic security. SCoA reiterated the importance of newly arrived communities having easy access to appropriate legal information and advice in their own language.
Refugee Alternatives 2019
On 19 and 20 February 2019, SCoA attended the Refugee Alternatives Conference held by RCOA in Adelaide. One of the highlights of the conference was the high proportion of speakers with lived experience sharing their expertise in a range of topics including refugee policy, advocacy, education and resettlement. SCoA attended many thought provoking sessions that explored xenophobia and racism, community sponsorship, regional resettlement, protection, understanding Australia’s role in the Asia Pacific, mental health, queering service provision and refugee employment. SCoA also joined with RCOA, FECCA and NEDA to launch a new report on the support needs of refugees with a disability.
Upcoming events and opportunities
There are many exciting events and opportunities coming up around the settlement sector. Watch out for: