The federal government sought positive attention on World Refugee Day with the announcement of its NSW grants for new arrivals and refugees.
On June 20, the government broadcast its commitment of $6.55 million to the Settlement Grants Program which is divided up among various settlement agencies to help new migrants become self-reliant and acquire skills for full community participation.
In a joint statement with Senator Kate Lundy, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP said: “As part of this service, a Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) will provide one-on-one consultancy services across Fairfield and Auburn to provide intensive assistance.”
Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Lundy said: “As a Government we are committed to providing support to help new migrants and refugees successfully settle in the community.
“Recent survey findings reveal the majority of Australians appreciate the benefits of our diversity.
“But we’re not complacent, which is why the Government also announced a national anti-racism partnership which is being steered by the Human Rights Commission. This demonstrates the Government’s commitment to strengthen social inclusion.”
The Australian government will spend a total of $39 million in 2012-13 to assist humanitarian entrants and migrants as soon as possible after arrival.
The largest recipient in NSW is the Cabramatta Community Centre which received $3.4 million over a three year period.
The centre will use the funding to provide settlement services for ethnic groups, community advocacy, and emergency relief programs.
But not all groups are satisfied with their funding.
The Chinese Australian Services Society (CASS) has been providing migrant settlement services including counselling and childcare to the Chinese community for eighteen years.
The Campsie-based organisation is disappointed its funding has dropped by another 13 percent this year.
CASS Senior Executive Officer, Maria Cheng said: “We provided a lot of documentation to get funding, especially since the scope of our work has widened. But now, we may have to cut some of those services.
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship explains all applications were carefully considered and funding was given to programs considered most suitable under the grant criteria.
A spokesperson for the Department said: “As of December last year, the government set a new direction for the program. Groups were briefed. Funding will be redirected to specific migrant/refugee resources centres which provide to all different communities.”
The Department said they are slowly phasing out funding to “ethno specific organisations” so services are not duplicated.
“As a result of this new direction, CASS has received less funding, but are better off than some ethno specific groups which have lost funding completely,” a spokesperson said.
Funding is scarce and the government has announced its commitment to helping all migrants especially new groups such as Burmese and Sudanese settlers.