Following public pressure to increase Australia’s refugee intake, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Wednesday that the federal government will offer permanent resettlement to 12,000 Syrian refugees.
The government will also provide an additional $44 million in financial aid to the UNHCR as people living in refugee camps prepare for winter.
UnitingCare Australia National Director Lin Hatfield Dodds said the UnitingCare network is ready to offer frontline community support to Syrian refugees.
“We know that many of those arriving in our communities over the coming months will have experienced trauma. All will have experienced loss,” she said.
“UnitingCare agencies are ready to bring their expertise in the provision of compassionate, practical and professional support services to people and families who arrive in our community under the expanded programs.”
Many refugees arrive in Australia with limited English skills, making it difficult to secure employment. They also have to endure tremendous physical and psychological trauma on their journey to find a new home. The pressure to engage in paid employment soon after arrival can further compound the trauma and make the settlement process more challenging.
UnitingCare agencies offer a range of programs to support refugees in their transition to life in Australia.
Kildonan UnitingCare assists refugee clients by providing basic households goods, orientation programs, case management and assistance with accommodation. They also provide support with registering with Centrelink, Medicare, banks, schools and connect refugees with an Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) provider.
“We are committed to building vibrant and inclusive communities through our social services presence, and look forward to providing an introduction to life in Australia for people fleeing persecution,” Ms Dodds said.
“Working together, we are confident that Syrian people can rebuild their lives in the safety and freedom of Australia.”
Image by Josh Zakary on Flickr