Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Increased Support for Migrants, Humanitarian Families and Young People

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Gary Hardgrave MP, Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs

More than $13 million will be spent over four years to give humanitarian entry families better access to family support and more assistance for newly arrived young migrants.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, and the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Gary Hardgrave, announced the increased assistance in the 2004-05 Budget.

The government will expand the Reconnect and Job Placement, Employment and Training (JPET) service specifically to help young newly arrived migrants.

Senator Patterson said $8.0 million over four years would be provided to create ten new service outlets which would be located in areas where there are high levels of settlement by young migrants.

The programs will offer early intervention for young people aged 12 to 18 years to tackle problems, such as leaving school early, homelessness, youth crime and substance abuse, all of which can lead to long-term income support dependency.

Senator Patterson said: “More than 1000 newly arrived migrants will receive assistance each year with the aim of overcoming personal and social barriers to economic participation in the community.”

The Budget contains $5.2 million over four years to engage community organisations funded under the Family Relationships Service Program to deliver culturally appropriate information and support to humanitarian entrants and their families.

Senator Patterson said all families faced challenges, however, families arriving in Australia through the Humanitarian Program face particular challenges that can affect their capacity to successfully settle into Australian society.

“The services will provide a range of assistance to these families including family relationship counselling, adolescent mediation and family therapy, men and family relationships services and specialised family violence services,” she said.

“While our Migration Program is targeted to the national interest and delivers enormous benefits to the country, entrants under our Refugee and Humanitarian Program often require specialised settlement assistance before they can become fully active members of our community,” Mr Hardgrave said.

“Families who are new to Australian society can be placed under enormous pressure due to the loss of traditional family support structures and changing expectations.

“This additional funding will help these families make a smooth transition into Australian life.”