Australia boosts settlement services for new migrants and refugees

Australia will boost settlement services to help newly arrived migrants and refugees become self-reliant and successfully settle in the country, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kate Lundy, have said.

Mr. Bowen said the services funded under the program focused on assisting new arrivals to gain employment and access to education and training, but also included sporting activities, help to increase knowledge of Australian culture and navigating the rental market.

“Settlement services make a very real difference to the lives of many of our new arrivals, helping them to adjust to life in Australia and contribute to the community,” Mr. Bowen said. “This is about getting people ready for work, getting kids into school, and making sure they have every opportunity to make a success of life in Australia, further enhancing the productivity of our migration program.”

From 1st July 2012, a total of 97 new projects worth $39 million – and delivered through 95 organisations – will be funded under the 2012-13 Settlement Grants Program (SGP). The SGP aims to help humanitarian entrants and new migrants to acquire the skills and knowledge to fully participate in the community as soon as possible after arrival.

Senator Lundy said the Settlement Grants Program reaffirmed the Australian Government's commitment to helping refugees and migrants successfully settle into their new communities. “These services help people to make the transition into Australian life by building on their existing skills and, at the same time, help them to learn valuable new ones,” Senator Lundy said. “They provide practical assistance for people starting new lives in Australia, help them create valuable links to the wider community and empower migrants and refugees to become self-reliant so they can forge a better life.”

Some of the successful applicant organisations include migrant resource centres, multicultural service agencies, educational institutions, community groups and welfare organisations.

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