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Study to explore refugee settlement

National

The experiences of one of Adelaide's northern council areas in the settlement of refugees will form part of a national study that has been initiated by the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education. 

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‘Settlement Cities: A Place-based Look at Humanitarian Settlement in Australia’ aims to undertake the first in-depth look at refugee settlement through the lens of Australia’s major settlement cities.

The 12-month study is being run as a joint project between is the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education and ACU’s Stakeholder Engaged Scholarship Unit, as well as 17 other Australian organisations including local city councils.

The project will focus on refugee settlement in the local government areas of Hume, Casey and Greater Dandenong in Melbourne, Fairfield and Liverpool in Sydney’s South West, Salisbury in northern Adelaide, and Logan City on Brisbane’s south.

The study aims to reveal the challenges each city has faced when accommodating large numbers of new arrivals, as well as the key lessons these places can teach policymakers and politicians about how to tackle refugee settlement into the future.

Director of the Edmund Rice Centre, Phil Glendenning, said the project was timely given the recent declaration by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the humanitarian emergency in Afghanistan, where more than 600,000 people were displaced from their homes.

While the Australian government set aside 3000 humanitarian visas in response to the Afghanistan crisis, Mr Glendenning said more research was needed to help Australian cities improve their support to refugees.

“As conflicts escalate and conditions worsen overseas, now more than ever we need to be looking at what Australian cities can be doing to better support our refugees who come here in search of safety and security,” he said.

“By understanding what has been working well and where we can improve, we can learn from our experience and better support refugees to feel at home in our communities.

“We need to hear about services and experiences on the ground through local councils, non-profits, grassroots organisations and the refugee communities themselves, and that is exactly what this project does.”

Vice-president of ACU Fr Anthony Casamento CSMA said the project would help strengthen the case for ongoing and increased funding for important settlement programs.

“This research will help service providers to campaign to state and federal governments for stronger support and more just social policies”, Fr Casamento said.

The project is inviting anyone involved in refugee settlement within any of the focus local government areas, or refugees from those communities, to be part of the study. Anyone interested in joining the study can contact farian@edmundrice.org.

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