Oxfam welcomes Government promises of better support for refugees

Campaigns and Advocacy, Humanitarian Advocacy, Media Releases, News article written on the 22 Nov 2019

Responding to Immigration Minister David Coleman’s announcement the Government has accepted fully or in part all seven recommendations of the Shergold Review into Australia’s integration, employment and settlement outcomes for refugees, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said:

“Oxfam welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to better support the settlement of refugees in Australia, in response to the recommendations of the long-awaited Shergold Review.

“We strongly support the Reviews’ finding that adequate access to support services – language, employment and education opportunities – are vital to settlement.

“Oxfam also welcomes Professor Shergold’s recommendations for complementary pathways to be set up for refugees to settle in Australia with the support of communities, businesses or universities, and agree that these must be additional places to the current humanitarian intake.

“Oxfam’s recent Stronger Together report also demonstrated that another way the Government can support the ‘good health’ of refugees is to make it easier for refugees and humanitarian migrants to be reunited with their families.

“Oxfam commissioned research, conducted by Monash University, found that refugees and humanitarian migrants who had been reunited with their families had a lower probability of mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and were more likely to be engaged in study or job training.

“I’ve seen just how stressful and hard it is for refugees settled in Australia to try and build a new life here when family members they love dearly – parents, sisters and brothers, aunts, uncles or cousins – are missing, living in danger in the war-torn countries they’ve fled or struggling to survive in a refugee camp on the other side of the world.

“The report, published in late August, also included comprehensive modelling by Deloitte Access Economics, which showed that settling more refugees and humanitarian migrants in Australia will increase overall GDP, demand for goods and services, and the number of jobs.

“What this report and the modelling from Deloitte Access Economics showed is that accepting more refugees is not only the right thing to do, but that supporting them as they settle in will boost the Australian economy as these new Australians become productive members of our society.

“Oxfam is calling on the Australian Government to increase the refugee intake to 44,000 by 2022/23 and to create within it a visa stream of 10,000 places annually that is specifically designed to make it easier for humanitarian migrants to be reunited with their family.

“Finally, Oxfam also agrees with Professor Shergold that the humanitarian program should prioritise the most vulnerable refugees through referrals from the UN Refugee Agency.”

For interviews or more information, please contact Dylan Quinnell on 0450 668 350 or dylanq@oxfam.org.au