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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 24 June 2010) . . Page.. 2436 ..


organisations that it supports to assist refugees in the ACT, given that we have the inclusion of refugees?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. The ACT government provides a range of services, either directly or through community organisations, to support refugees and asylum seekers settle in the ACT. The ACT government assists refugees and asylum seekers through the provision of services, including temporary housing, medical treatment, translating and interpreting services, English classes, childcare support and public transport for those attending English classes.

We also provide ongoing funding to Companion House to provide much needed specialist medical assistance, counselling and community development for refugees. The ACT government funds the Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services to undertake the program for after-school studies, men’s African cooking classes, English language classes, homework classes and recreational activities such as the Harmony Players basketball team. The Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services are also funded to hold open days, information sessions and the celebration of events to engage refugees and other migrants. The ACT government will provide MARSS with $200,000 over four years to undertake these activities.

The ACT government also funds the Multicultural Youth Services. The service has recently fully relocated to the Theo Notaras Multicultural Centre to continue its important work with young people who are mainly refugees. Through one-on-one case work information sessions, drop-in centres and referral services we will be working closely with the Multicultural Youth Services to develop further outreach services for young refugees that live in Canberra. Members are aware that the ACT government has made funds available in the recent budget for this purpose in the order of $100,000 over four years.

The ACT government understands that housing is one of the most critical aspects of successful refugee settlement. My department, in conjunction with several community groups, delivered the transitional refugee housing program that provides short-term accommodation for newly arrived refugees. This is an essential service that is playing a crucial role in the successful settlement of refugees in the ACT.

We are also looking at the needs of children and young people with refugee backgrounds. The Department of Education and Training provides funding for a home tutor program and each year a number of refugees or humanitarian visa holders enrol in the introductory English lessons that we have in the ACT. It is clear that the ACT government’s responsibility regarding the resettlement of these individuals is strengthened because of our firm partnership with community service providers and the new and emerging multicultural groups.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: Minister, how have you supported the events that have taken place this week as part of Refugee Week, and what was your personal involvement?


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