NFP To Coordinate Refugee Safe Haven Hub in Tasmania
Thursday, 7th July 2016 at 10:20 am
Not for Profit welfare agency CatholicCare has been selected by the Tasmanian Government to establish and coordinate additional multicultural support services for new refugees from Syria as well as asylum seekers already living in Australia.
The Safe Havens Hub is expected to deliver education pathways and employment opportunities for people who have been granted a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) or a Temporary Protection Visa (TPV), humanitarian entrants, and recently arrived migrants.
Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman announced in Hobart on Tuesday that the $1.2 million program would be delivered over four years.
“It’s a really important step forward to ensure Tasmania is well prepared to accept not only the arrivals of Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders but also an intake of refugees from Syria, as well as provide support for those existing migrants in our community who often need a place to make contact and to find ways to be safely accommodated in our community,” Hodgman said.
The program will provide service referrals for accommodation, Centrelink, Medicare, legal and migration services and trauma counselling to new SHEV and TPV holders, as well as employment support and pre-employment training and initiatives for all eligible clients.
The announcement comes as the Australian Government continues to process refugees from Syria and Iraq. During the Syrian refugee crisis in late 2015, Tasmania agreed to take another 500 refugees.
Tasmania was the second state to sign up as a destination for people applying for the SHEV, which allows refugees to work, enrol in Medicare and receive some welfare payments for up to 18 months.
“CatholicCare has been providing services to former refugees for more than 10 years. In the last financial year we saw about 250 new humanitarian entrants arrive in Hobart and we are expecting that new SHEV and TPV holders will also want to move to Tasmania,” CatholicCare MSP manager James Norman said.
“This additional state-wide program will help us provide further support to people who want to come and live and work in Tasmania.”
However it is understood that Syrian refugees are still more than 12 months from resettlement in Australia.
“The latest advice we have received [from the federal government] is that we should now begin to see an increased number of arrivals in Australia of Syrian and Iraqi refugees,” Hodgman said.
“I am keen to attract SHEV holders to Tasmania to live and work, and that will be a key role of the Hub.”