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What’s happening at SCOA

Welcome to our final newsletter for 2017 – and what a year it has been! Below is a short summary of some highlights over the past two months.

SCoA welcomes report of inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes

Over the past 12 months the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Migration has been conducting an inquiry into migrant settlement outcomes. It handed down its final report in December 2017.

Reporting against a specific Terms of Reference, and drawing on over 100 submissions, numerous public hearings and an international delegation, the report traces the challenges of settlement in Australia and highlights the hard work of the settlement sector in helping new arrivals to overcome those challenges. It highlights areas where greater emphasis is needed, and makes a number of recommendations for policy change and further funding for crucial services.

The settlement sector, represented in the Inquiry by SCoA and many of its members, is well cited throughout the report, and the Committee has engaged in a detailed and comprehensive review of the tireless work performed across the country. It draws largely positive conclusions about the effectiveness of that work.

SCoA welcomes a number of recommendations in the report, including:

  • the provision of additional funding to enable an expansion of the highly successful Community Hubs program and similar settlement services;
  • the establishment of a new network supporting migrant mothers;
  • enhancements to the Australian Cultural Orientation program to better prepare humanitarian arrivals and equip them for life in Australia;
  • greater flexibility in eligibility criteria, and program enhancements, for AMEP;
  • increased focus on the National Settlement Framework and, crucially, the 9 key priority areas defined within it;
  • the inclusion in jobactive of an employment support service specifically designed for newly arrived and longer term migrants; and
  • the extension of the Youth Transition Support program and other programs and initiatives targeted directly at young people from a migrant or refugee background.

We look forward to working with government and the sector to ensure that these positive recommendations are fully explored so that migrants settling in Australia achieve the most effective settlement outcomes.

SCoA Submission to Settlement Grants Program

SCoA members will be aware that earlier this month the Department of Social Services (DSS) completed its consultations into the future of the settlement grants program. This followed the publication of a discussion paper addressing 5 key areas for improvement.

SCoA conducted a series of member consultations throughout November which informed its responses to the DSS Discussion Paper. We were able to use that information both at the DSS-led roundtable in Brisbane and, subsequently, in a comprehensive submission. We hope to be able to share the submission with you soon.

In the meantime, we will continue to keep members updated as this matter progresses.

Joint MYAN/SCOA Employment Teleconference

We thank members who joined our second teleconference, coordinated jointly with MYAN, exploring the employment initiatives that have been designed to assit migrant and refugee youth settling in Australia.

If you are interested in learning more about some of the great work the sector is doing in relation to employment, see our Employment page in the Innovation Centre.

Don’t forget to share your innovative programs and activities with us.

MIA National Conference 2017

The Migration Institute of Australia hosted its annual conference in Melbourne in November 2017. SCOA CEO, Nick Tebbey was invited to present at the conference and delivered an analysis of the importance of citizenship to the settlement journeys of migrants in Australia.

At the conference, Nick heard from government, stakeholders and members of the migration profession, about the issues impacting Australia’s visa system and those who make Australia home.

National Multicultural Advisory Group

Jamila represented SCOA and its members at the Department of Human Services’ National Multicultural Advisory Group meeting. It was a great opportunity to meet with other members of the multicultural sector and hear about DHS’ future plans for greater engagement.

The NMAG is a brilliant opportunity for members’ concerns and issues to be conveyed to DHS. If you have any comments you would like SCOA to raise on your behalf please contact our national office.

Advancing Community Cohesion Conference

SCOA Chair Dewani Bakkum and CEO Nick Tebbey attended the Second Advancing Community Cohesion Conference in Sydney in late November 2017. This was a great opportunity to engage with thought leaders, academics and practitioners from around Australia.

The general theme of social cohesion was explored in great detail by a plethora of interesting speakers from a range of different community sectors, including health, disability, ageing, employment, education, and of course the settlement sector.

Nick presented on the role of the settlement sector in promoting social engagement, through which social cohesion is greatly assisted. His presentation was well attended and enjoyed by all.

DIBP Migration Program 2018-19 Consultation

Nick attended a high-level meeting in Sydney in early December which explored the Department’s key priorities in setting the migration program for 2018-19. This meeting was an opportunity to advocate for greater focus on settlement in the migration program and we will continue to do so.

The Consultation also touched on the Department’s plans to pursue its visa simplification agenda, though at this stage those plans are in their infancy. We expect to hear more on that early in 2018.

The Department also indicated that there would be a formal consultation period for the 2018-19 migration program so keep alert for that opportunity.

MYAN National Conference

On 23rd and 24th of November SCoA attended the MYAN National Conference held at University of Melbourne. Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN) is Australia’s National peak body on multicultural youth issues. This conference was filled with extraordinary speakers and moderators whom explored and shared their views on global citizens, social cohesion and education to work. The conference was well attended and brought together international and local policymakers, practitioners, the youth, academics and the business sector.

The two day conference focused on raising some of the issues that young refugees and migrants face daily and also addressed how these issues can be overcome by good policymaking, research and advocacy.

To read more, visit our blog 

 

 

NEMBC National Conference

On 24 November 2017 SCOA Chair Dewani Bakkum presented at the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters National Conference Youth Day in Canberra. On the following day SCOA CEO Nick Tebbey also had the opportunity to present, and join a panel featuring Professor Gillian Triggs, Dr Emma Campbell of FECCA and Ms Isabel Lo President of Media Diversity Australia.

We value our partnership with NEMBC and look forward to working with them in 2018.

SCOA AGM and Symposium

On the 27th of November Settlement Council of Australia held its annual symposium and AGM at the Australian National Museum. The purpose of the symposium was to take a deeper look at the personal journeys of refugees settling in Australia, and the role of those who assist in that process, and to discuss how this may impact the work of the sector into the future. This was a successful event thanks to our guest speakers and participants who brought with them a wealth of knowledge to share at the Symposium. At this event SCoA also launched its annual report.

SCoA thanks all our members and participants for joining us this year at the Settlement Symposium. We look forward to meeting everyone at our future events and to share with you in celebrating the many successes of the Settlement Sector in the future.

 

To read more, visit our blog