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Chair’s Message

With the new Morrison Government formed, responsibility for settlement services back in the Department of Home Affairs (after a time Social Services) and Parliament sitting again, it’s time to look at political landscape and agenda for the coming three years.

The Government has a strong commitment to regional settlement and SCoA will work with the Minister for Immigration, David Coleman, and Home Affairs, for the sector to be actively involved, so that the needs of clients are met.  SCoA has also made a submission on the Bill to make changes to the character test, which will allow the Minister or his officials to deport visa holders who are found guilty of any offence that carries a maximum prison term of two years or more (even if the court does not give the person the maximum – or any – sentence).

SCoA will also make a submission to a Senate Inquiry on the rate of payment of Newstart (unemployment benefit) and has put out a call to members to contribute.  Many new arrivals receive government payments, such as Newstart or Special Benefit and I hope you will be able to share stories of your clients’ experiences.

This month’s newsletter talks about housing issues, centred around the newly released, and thought provoking, SCoA paper on discrimination in the private housing market.  Having a home is one of the most important factors to settling well in a new community and our members often grapple with finding appropriate housing and building relationships with private landlords and agents.

We hope that you find the newsletter informative and invite you to contact the SCoA office if you have any stories, suggestions or questions.