Coordinator general for Refugee Resettlement in NSW, Peter Shergold, spent some time in Armidale on Wednesday to find out how the integration of the Yazidi community was progressing in this city. He thought it was a wonderful time to do it because it was exactly one year since the Yazidis first arrived.
Mr Shergold said it followed arguments put forward by the Armidale Council and Sanctuary that there was a desire to receive some of the migrants and particularly some of the refugees from the conflict in Syria and Iraq.
One of the best quotes was 'What do you like about being in Armidale?' And she said, 'Because I can be here and say I'm a Yazidi.'Peter Shergold
"So, it was out of that that Mike Baird, who was then the Premier, approached the Commonwealth and the decision was made," Mr Shergold said.
"For me it's now saying 'Well, you got what you wished for, I want to see how this is going. And it is a very unusual group most Australians know very little about.
"I would say, honestly, the first report card is very good. I think there is still a high level of support and openness."
He said although some problems remained, many could be solved by bringing teaching English and employment together.
Armidale Settlement Services International community engagement coordinator Samantha Airs said it was an exciting day to share what has worked well in settlement and was being worked towards as a community.
The biggest need at the moment would be support with the English.Samantha Airs
"It's been very much a community effort with lots of collaboration, and that's what making this work," she said.
"The biggest need at the moment would be support with the English. It's an identified need, so people are pulling together to help develop skills and give as many opportunities in that space as possible.
"Public transport has been raised as an issue, but I see that as a regional issue. I think people in Armidale know that it has been an issue for some time and not just an issue for the new community.
Samantha said the driverless vehicle being developed by UNE would help her clients.
"We have a lot of younger clients who are interested in studying at university and want to get professional qualifications. We also have a lot of young people who are interested in playing a lot of sports that are up at the university as well," she said.
"Again, with the cut off times at the moment for transport kind of limits their ability to get up there.
"But that would open up more options for them, so I see that as a big benefit."