Media Release by Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells

Self-reliant migrants build a better Australia

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, today thanked agencies who support new arrivals to settle in Australia.

The Department of Social Services provides $188 million over four years supporting eligible migrants for up to five years after their arrival in Australia and resourcing community organisations.

Speaking at the Settlement Council of Australia’s (SCOA) Annual General Meeting at Parliament House in Canberra, Senator Fierravanti-Wells, who has special responsibility for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services, said the Council’s members were helping Australia continue to be a successful and cohesive multicultural nation.

SCoA is a national settlement peak body whose members include Humanitarian Settlement Services (HSS) providers and Settlement Grants providers.

“You are making a difference to people’s lives,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells told the Council. “These are the lives of people who, in some cases, have suddenly become vulnerable and traumatised. You provide those early building blocks for our new arrivals as they slowly piece together their new lives in an unfamiliar country.”

Senator Fierravanti-Wells said the Council’s members were crucial to maintaining Australia’s unique multiculturalism and its success as one of the most socially cohesive nations on earth.

“In a world where displacement and unrest is an everyday reality, we need a strong settlement sector. An organised, collaborative and representative settlement services sector, with clear direction, is critical,” she said.

“Your settlement services help our new migrants become self-reliant quickly, gain employment and immerse themselves in all aspects of Australian life. For example, under the Humanitarian Settlement Services program, SCoA member caseworkers assist people enrol their school-age children in school no later than six weeks after arriving here.

“You also play a crucial role in delivering services for clients to achieve employment, education and English language goals,” said Senator Fierravanti-Wells.