Refugee resettlement talks begin

Published 7th October, 2015 in Family & Community Services

Talks of resettling Syrian and Iraqi refugees into NSW have begun.

Young Syrian refugee girl peeks out from behind makeshift tent.
Young Syrian refugee girl at the Turkish-Syrian border.

The new NSW Coordinator-General for Refugee Resettlement has begun initial discussions with relevant community, education and private sector groups to support the resettlement of Syrian and Iraqi refugees in NSW.

Professor Peter Shergold AC, appointed to the role last month by NSW Premier Mike Baird, said the first refugees were expected to arrive before the end of this year.

“This will be a staged process over approximately 18 months and NSW will settle at least 4,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. The humanitarian crisis occurring in the Middle East is unpredictable and Australia and NSW are working within that context,” Professor Shergold said.

“These people need our help, and my role is to coordinate a holistic approach with government agencies, community groups and the private sector all pitching in to offer the best services we can for these refugees.”

Refugee resettlement in NSW

NSW already settles more than 4000 refugees each year. These additional refugees will come from Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan following mandatory health and security checks. The Commonwealth Government will then consider a range of factors in determining where they will be resettled.

Mr Shergold said the Syrian and Iraqi refugees will come from a range of backgrounds, work experience, level of skills and qualifications and English language proficiency.

“The availability of accommodation and services such as health, counselling and pathways to education and local business opportunities will be critical to successful resettlement,” he said.

“We’ll be looking at family or community links as well as reaching out to corporate Australia to identify meaningful employment opportunities.”

Community response

Professor Shergold said he was heartened by the response from the community, which has already registered nearly 300 offers of support, English lessons, friendship, accommodation and professional services including healthcare and counselling via the NSW Government’s You Can Help web page.

Published 7th October, 2015 in Family & Community Services