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Message from the Chair

Welcome to our June 2018 Newsletter.

We have just finished celebrating another highly successful Refugee Week and I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our colleagues at the Refugee Council of Australia for leading yet another successful week celebrating all that refugees have to contribute to Australia. Many of our members have hosted vibrant Refugee Week events in June and I celebrate you all for your commitment.

This newsletter provides some thoughts from SCoA about how the Settlement Sector embodies the Refugee Week theme: #WithRefugees. It is, after all, the lifeblood of our work and I hope you will enjoy reading some examples of the many and varied activities of our members in supporting migrants from a refugee background.

The last two months has seen SCoA continue to advocate on behalf of the sector and the people we represent. We have engaged passionately with the government’s proposal on the Newly Arrived Residents’ Waiting Period and continue to monitor this crucial policy change. We have also noted, and responded to, the new announcements regarding migrant English. You can read our views here.

I am currently in Geneva at the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement, representing Australia’s settlement sector in high-level discussions about the future direction of global refugee needs. I will provide a report on this meeting as soon as possible.

In the meantime, our CEO is also in Geneva for the UNHCR’s Annual NGO Consultations and is meeting with representatives of the UN, as well as many other national and international bodies, to further promote the work of the Australian settlement sector and to learn from others and engage in meaningful collaboration that will further enhance settlement outcomes in Australia.

Finally, on the marking of World Refugee Day 2018, our CEO spoke at the ACT Government’s Annual Refugee Day breakfast about the contribution Australia makes to the world refugee crisis and, importantly, highlighting all that refugees contribute to Australia. I recommend his speech to you all, which you can view here. I will leave you with his concluding remarks:

“Gratefully supported by government, settlement service agencies are able to ensure tailored and flexible settlement services are provided and that refugees are able to achieve independence, and be accepted into the community, as quickly as possible. It is because of this crucial support that we are able to confidently point to the economic and social benefits Australia enjoys thanks to its compassionate refugee program, and that we are all able to confidently say our lives are enriched thanks to the new Australians that we welcome each year.

On this world refugee day, let’s pay attention to the chosen theme: With Refugees.

Never has there been a more important time for us all to embrace the most vulnerable, to include them, and most importantly, in each aspect of policy and decision making, ensure that we truly embody the theme of being there for those most in need.”