Today, the Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (CRSI) has welcomed the release of the review report, Investing in Refugees, Investing in Australia, as well as the Australian Government’s response.
The review of Australia’s integration and resettlement of humanitarian refugees, led by Peter Shergold AC, has recommended the introduction of a place-based community sponsorship program.
Executive Director of CRSI, Lisa Button welcomed the release of the review report and urged the Government to look to successful shared-cost models overseas, particularly Canada and the United Kingdom, for guidance.
“Community sponsorship of refugees is a model that has been successfully adopted in a range of countries already,” said Ms Button.
“The benefits of community sponsorship are huge, not just for refugees but also the individuals and communities that sponsor them.”
“The findings of the Shergold Review confirm that, and the Government’s response to the recommendation is very encouraging.”
“It is very positive to see the Government acknowledge the desire of ordinary Australians and community groups to get more involved in helping refugees to successfully settle in Australia, including in regional areas.”
The recommendation that community sponsorship should be in addition to the current Humanitarian Program is particularly welcome, as is the appointment of a Commonwealth Coordinator-General for Migrant Services.
“Refugees have made enormous contributions to the success of our nation over many decades. The formalisation of a role to that will raise the visibility of this is certainly a step forward,” said Ms Button.
“Many regional centres and towns around Australia are welcoming refugees to their communities with open arms.”
“Community sponsorship would provide a structured framework for this and allow more regional centres and towns to benefit from the huge economic, social and cultural benefits they bring.”
“We look forward to working closely with the Government and Australian communities to develop a community sponsorship program which contributes positively to the resettlement and integration of refugees and the success of Australian communities.”
The Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative will be welcoming Professor Jennifer Bond, Chair of the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative to Australia next week to share the learnings from the Canadian experience as well as those of other countries like the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Professor Bond is a leading expert on the policy and operational dimensions of community sponsorship programs and recently served as Special Advisor to Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
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