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Review into settlement outcomes for refugees – Dec 2018

On Thursday 13 December 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Minister for Immigration David Coleman announced a review into settlement outcomes for humanitarian entrants.

Led by Peter Shergold, the panel conducting the review includes Margaret Piper and Kerrin Benson, CEO of MDA Ltd (a SCoA member organisation). It is being supported by the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet and is intended to cut across the various government departments involved in refugee settlement.

Many will have noted the tight timeframe for the review, with a report required by February 2019.

SCoA welcomes the review and views it as an opportunity to make practical, achievable and positive improvements to Australia’s already world-class settlement program. Despite the obvious shortcomings, including the timing of the review and its lack of capacity to hold public consultations, SCoA is nevertheless comforted that those leading the panel will seize this opportunity and will ensure their recommendations are well-informed by the settlement sector and others.

On Friday 14 December 2018, SCoA CEO Nick Tebbey attended the first “roundtable” to form part of the inquiry. We understand a range of further meetings were scheduled for Friday in Sydney and there will be others in January. We trust a number of SCoA members will be invited to participate and share their knowledge and expertise.

The Terms of Reference of the Review have now been made public and can be viewed here. In summary, they include:

  • “provide advice to government on how to better support refugees… to make valuable contributions to our social fabric and our economy”
  • “policy options for improving the integration, employment and settlement outcomes”
  • “best practice case studies”
  • “how… outcomes vary by region”

SCoA considers this gives the sector a crucial opportunity to advocate on topics including:

  • the need for place-based settlement approaches;
  • the need for government to respect and properly utilize the vast expertise of the settlement sector;
  • the need for proper collection of data for measuring settlement success;
  • regional settlement opportunities; and
  • employment outcomes and the effectiveness of jobactive.

In January, SCoA provided a written submission to the Review setting out our key recommendations on the above topics, and others of importance, and drawing on our previous member consultations and research conducted by SCoA. A copy of our submission can be accessed below.

Despite the unfortunate timing, SCoA firmly holds the view that this opportunity is positive and represents a chance for the sector to actively inform future policy development.

We welcome any queries or comments from members and invite you to contact our National Office on 02 6282 8515 or info@scoa.org.au.