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Chair’s Message

World Refugee Week (16 to 22 June) was celebrated with events around the country.  I thank all of our members who have shared highlights of their celebrations, and the refugees who have shared their stories of inspiration and hope.

These stories help us to remind the broader community that refugees and other migrants contribute to the culture, economy and life of the country.  Take, for example, their volunteering efforts.  SCoA recently released a report, with Volunteering Australia, showing that most clients of settlement services go on to volunteer in those services or elsewhere in the community.

Since our last newsletter, there has also been an election and the Morrison Coalition Government was re-elected.  SCoA has sent our congratulations to the Government, and the new Minister for Settlement Services, the Hon David Coleman MP.  Responsibility for settlement services has been moved from the Department of Social Services to the Department of Home Affairs.  Tammy Wolffs, the new SCoA CEO and I will meet with Minister Coleman in July.

As you read this, I am in Geneva representing SCoA at the UNHCR’s Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement. I will also be sharing some of the case studies shared by SCoA. I look forward to reporting back to in the next newsletter.

This month, the SCoA newsletter points to the many health challenges faced by refugees and other migrants when they first settle in Australia.  It also highlights the innovative ways we, as settlement organisations, support people to make sure that they understand the health services that are available to them, and are able to access those services when they need them.

I hope you enjoy and share this newsletter, and keep sharing the stories of the refugees and other migrants who have made their homes in Australia.