Refugees and migrants looking to make the New England home can look forward to sharing in $41 million in funding support from the Federal Coalition Government.
Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, welcomed the investment which formed part of $163.4 million in Settlement Engagement and Transition Support (SETS) grants to encourage migrants to form a stronger connection with their new communities in their first five years in Australia.
The funding will support Settlement Services International (SSI) across regional Australia, including in the New England where a new SSI office in Armidale was opened recently, to deliver services for engagement and integration for newly arrived migrants and refugees.
“Australia is well-known for its ethnically diverse communities and the New England is no exception with a number of Yazidi families settling in well at Armidale with help from the team at SSI,” Mr Joyce said.
“We know that lowering barriers to being involved in regional communities builds wellbeing, safety and prosperity – these are things that enrich not Armidale but the whole country.
“It is important to regional centres like the New England, that our newly arrived community members have a strong connection and sense of belonging to their new home in Australia,” Mr Joyce said.
SETS replaces the Settlement Grants program which had been in place for more than 10 years.
It fills an important gap in the post-arrival period for eligible migrants who do not have family and community support to rely on.
The grants fund activities which are focused on families and individuals and increase community capacity including assisting with English language skills, building employment readiness and encouraging homework for school students.
Federal Minister for Social Services, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said 78 organisations across the country will be funded to deliver services in engagement and integration for newly arrived migrants and refugees.
“This is an important part of the Coalition Government’s plan for keeping Australians together,” Mr Fletcher said.
“People settling in Australia have a lot to contribute to our society. We want to give them every opportunity to succeed and be part of a stable, prosperous economy.”
The SETS program will start on 1 January 2019. For a list of successful recipients go to grants.gov.au