Media Release by Senator the Hon Zed Seselja

Innovative business partnerships creating jobs for new arrivals

Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, today visited a meatworks in Biloela, Queensland to see how an innovative partnership between a business and settlement services provider could potentially put up to dozens of new arrivals to work.

Teys Australia, who operates the Biloela meatworks, and Access Community Services Ltd (Access) have worked together through the Friendly Nation Initiative (FNI) to put refugees to work.

“The Friendly Nation Initiative (FNI) is about finding employment opportunities for humanitarian entrants arriving in Australia, particularly from the Syrian crisis, by engaging corporate Australia,” said Senator Seselja.

“As I saw at Teys today, the FNI is a practical partnership between business and settlement providers like Access who are making a real difference in these refugees’ lives.”

Teys Australia General Manager (Biloela), Duncan Downie, said their company has benefited greatly from employing migrants and refugees.

“They bring a very diverse skillset to our business, diversity of thought and experiences which complement our existing employee base,” said Mr Downie.

The initiative involves Access screening suitable clients, providing pre-employment support and supported work experience. In addition, post placement support for both clients and employer is provided by Access.

CEO of Access, Gail Ker, said the FNI recognised that creating pathways to employment were a crucial step in the process of successfully resettling newly arrived refugees.

“It’s great to see the success of the initiative here in Biloela, a region we’ve been active in since partnering with Teys in 2009 on our national award winning initiative, the Rural Employment Assistance Program (REAP),” Ms Ker said.

Senator Seselja also addressed a community roundtable with Banana Shire Council members, business heads, and community leaders to discuss the opportunities migration brings to regions.

“We know that new arrivals bring a range of skills, knowledge, and innovative work and business practices which can contribute to increases in production and improvement in productivity.”

“Migrants have an enormous amount to give in our regions and the Government is focussed on ensuring they have as many opportunities to contribute as possible” concluded Senator Seselja.