ARMIDALE continues to shine as a model of the federal government’s efforts to encourage the settlement of humanitarian migrants into regional communities.
New England MP Barnaby Joyce hosted the Federal Assistant Minister for Children and Families David Gillespie,and visited the city’s branch of International Settlement Services to see first-hand how Yazidi refugees were integrating into the local community.
In August 2017, the Federal Coalition Government established Armidale as a new regional settlement site, with over 100 refugees arriving since February 2018.
“I’ve been fighting for this project since the beginning so it’s great to see our vision to offer refugees a safe, welcoming home in the New England, finally realised,” Mr Joyce, who advocated the project, said.
During their visit, Minister Gillespie and Mr Joyce met with representatives from Settlement Services International, who are responsible for administering the federally-funded Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP).
The HSP has a strong focus on integrating refugees into society by focusing on the three E’s – English, Employment and Education.
Mr Gillespie said the Federal Coalition Government remained committed to ensuring that all refugees who arrive in Australia were equipped with the independence, capability and assistance they need to secure a job, expand their social circles and contribute to their new community.
“I’m pleased to see that the people of Armidale have welcomed these refugee families into their community with open arms. SSI has also done an outstanding job in helping these people settle into this town, and the Government commends them for their ongoing leadership and efforts,” he said.
Armidale is one of 25 established settlement sites across Australia with a range of services that address the needs of humanitarian migrants.
Mr Joyce added the experience of Armidale shows that a controlled and special intake of humanitarian migrants can deliver immense benefits for regional communities.
“Settling humanitarian entrants in regional areas reduces skill shortages, promotes diversity in the workplace and the community, and builds capacity in the region,” he said.
More information on the HSP is available on the Department of Social Services website.