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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Howard Government help for new arrivals

A new project supported by the Howard Government will help around 300 Melbourne humanitarian entrant families maintain strong family relationships and adjust to life in Australia.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today launched Stronger Families for Humanitarian Entrants program, a partnership between the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) and the Adult Migration Education Services (AMES).

“Over four years, the program will receive more than $580,000 to provide a valuable service to humanitarian entrants living in northern and western Melbourne,” Senator Patterson said.

“It will assist families to overcome relationship challenges through support services, education, counselling and family dispute resolution.

“Humanitarian entrants, who may have already been traumatised by their experiences in their country of origin, are often faced with additional pressures on their arrival to Australia brought about by the loss of traditional family support structures and learning about life in a new country.

“Under the Stronger Families for Humanitarian Entrants program, families arriving in Australia often need help to overcome language and cultural barriers, which can make it hard for them to access mainstream community services.

“The program will deliver a range of culturally appropriate services to help these families.

“The Howard Government is committed to its humanitarian program and is focussing on making the transition to life in this country as smooth as possible. We have allocated an extra $5.2 million nationally over four years to fund specialised family relationship services for humanitarian entrants,” Senator Patterson said.