NSW Premier Mike Baird has announced that the former head of the Australian public service, Peter Shergold AC, has agreed to act as the NSW Coordinator-General for Refugee Resettlement.
Professor Shergold, the Chancellor of Western Sydney University, will take responsibility for ensuring that the NSW Government is prepared for the arrival of the additional refugee intake from Syria, and then for coordinating across governments, government agencies and NGOs to resettle refugees in NSW.
“I am delighted that Peter Shergold has agreed to become coordinator of the housing, health, education and welfare needs of these thousands of additional arrivals from Syria and Iraq,” Mr Baird said.
“His experience across government, the NGO and private sectors makes him uniquely qualified to take on this role.”
Professor Shergold said that he was honoured to be given the full and strong support of the Premier for such an important role.
“It is vital that all the agencies of the State Government work together in a coordinated way to wrap support services around the refugee families as they arrive,” he said.
“We need not only to provide immediate help -- such as community services, health programs, trauma counselling and housing -- but also ensure that the new arrivals gain access to English language training, education and employment services.”
Professor Shergold will also ensure strong coordination between the State, Commonwealth and local governments.
“It is crucial that we also build strong collaborative partnerships between the NSW public sector and the not for profit community organisations that now play such an important part in helping to deliver government services,” he said.
“I will also be asking private sector businesses to help the Government provide employment and training opportunities for the refugees. Many – given a chance – will have skills, experience, entrepreneurial energy and the determination to succeed.”