Building on a long, proud tradition of settling new arrivals
The Assistant Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Craig Laundy MP, delivered a keynote address at the Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) ‘Settlement and Citizenship in Civil Society’ conference in Melbourne today.
The Settlement Council of Australia is an independent peak body representing migrant and refugee settlement agencies across Australia.
The conference brings together the settlement sector, communities and government as well as academic and industry groups to broaden understanding, collaboration and responsiveness to migration, settlement and citizenship.
Mr Laundy said the conference is an opportunity to explore Australia’s long and proud tradition of resettling migrants, refugees and vulnerable people in humanitarian need.
“This is vitally important as we increase our humanitarian intake this year to resettle an additional 12,000 refugee fleeing the conflict in Syria and Iraq,” Mr Laundy said.
“We have some of the best settlement services in the world. These are services that support new arrivals to settle into their new lives and communities.
“This is very much thanks to the partnerships we have in place, including those with community organisations, business and service providers”
Since World War II, 7.5 million migrants, including more than 825,000 humanitarian entrants and people in humanitarian need, have been resettled in Australia.
Mr Laundy said Australia is a migrant nation, with almost half of us either born overseas or with at least one parent who was.
“Our combination of rich cultural diversity, social cohesion and economic prosperity makes us the envy of the world,” he said.
“So much of this is due to our migrants and humanitarian entrants who have enriched our culture and added to our national story.
“And so much is also due to the right support made available to our new arrivals.”
Mr Laundy said most humanitarian entrants come to Australia in tragic circumstances, having experienced torture and trauma as well as persecution and discrimination.
“With the benefit of work by the Government and civil society, including the Settlement Council of Australia and its members, we can and are, turning these harrowing stories into positive ones,” he said.
“I thank the Council and its members for their efforts in making a difference not only to people’s lives but to Australian life in general.
“The Council and its members are there when our new arrivals first try to piece together their new lives in a new and probably unfamiliar country.”
For more information on the Australian Government’s work in multicultural affairs and settlement services, go to https://www.dss.gov.au/settlement-and-multicultural-affairs.