Jesuit Social Services welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Joint Standing Committee on Migration’s inquiry into migration in regional Australia.
In our submission, we argue that with the right policies, services and support in place, regional settlement initiatives have the potential to benefit both newly arrived people, including refugees, and the communities in which they live. In order to give people a genuine choice between living in a metropolitan or regional area, a suite of factors demand long-term government investment and planning in regional areas, including in relation to stable employment opportunities; affordable housing; education; English language support; transport and other infrastructure; settlement, health and related services.
As outlined in our submission, Jesuit Social Services recommends that, in developing regional settlement strategies, the Federal Government should give particular attention to the following:
- Regional settlement policies should be voluntary and centred on providing people with genuine incentives to live and work in communities that are safe, welcoming and inclusive.
- Services funded under the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support Program should be able to respond to the settlement needs of newly arrived people beyond the current post-arrival five year period of eligibility.
- The Fair Entitlements Guarantee should be extended to people with work rights who are on temporary visas, particularly humanitarian migrants.
- Services that provide post-placement support to newly employed people, as well as support for employers, should be funded to aid retention and protect against exploitation.
Read our submission to the inquiry here.