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A Just Australia
Australian Refugee Foundation
Refugee Week

Latest News

Government must stop deception and do more to protect Iraqis

The Australian Government must stop trying to deceive Australians about its recent cuts to the Refugee and Humanitarian Program and start acting to increase protection options for Iraqi and Syrian refugees. Read more here.

Welfare system review needs greater focus on humanitarian entrants

The Federal Government review of Australia's welfare system must pay more attention to addressing barriers faced by refugees and humanitarian entrants. Read more here.

MPs hear community concerns about weakening protection against race hate

RCOA today welcomed the Australian Government's decision not to proceed with changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. Read more here.

Refugee Council appalled by claims of cruelty to children in detention

RCOA said it was appalled by allegations made today at a national inquiry which if true amounted to the systemic abuse of children. Read more here.

Independent guardian needed to protect interests of child asylum seekers

RCOA has welcomed the release of a new report that recommends the replacement of the Immigration Minister as the guardian of unaccompanied asylum seeker children. Read more here.

Allowing Indian consular access to asylum seekers ignores protection claims

Australia's decision to grant Indian consular officials access to 157 asylum seekers without testing their claims for refugee protection creates a troubling precedent. Read more here.

Government removes Refugee Council's core funding

The Australian Government has completely cut core funding to RCOA despite allocating $140,000 just two weeks ago in its 2014-15 Budget. Read more here.

Child asylum seekers locked up at higher rate than adults

Child asylum seekers are more likely than their adult counterparts to be held in Australia in a locked detention facility than in community alternatives. Read more here.

Australia's answers on return of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka unsatisfactory

RCOA has demanded Australia explain what has happened to 41 asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka and what guarantees were given about their safety. Read more here.

RCOA backs call for independent observer for screening process

RCOA has endorsed a call for an independent observer to be present during the interviews of asylum seekers under enhanced screening. Read more here.

Lives on the line under proposed changes to Migration Act

RCOA has expressed alarm at proposed changes to the Migration Act 1958 which will significantly increase the risk of people being returned to danger. Read our media release.

UN High Commissioner criticises Australia's 'strange' obsession with boats

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has described as "very strange" Australia's obsession with deterring asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Read more here.

Cambodian NGOs unite in opposition to Australia's refugee deal

RCOA has welcomed a joint statement issued by a coalition of 21 Cambodian NGOs who oppose the planned refugee resettlement deal between Cambodia and Australia. Read more here.

Running an asylum policy on cruelty leads to deadly consequences

RCOA President Phil Glendenning fears a repeat of the tragic self-immolation of a Tamil asylum seeker in Melbourne unless Australia abandoned its cruel and punitive policy approach. Read more here.

Refugee review changes a matter of life and death for asylum seekers

Proposed legislation aimed at fast-tracking refugee claims will take legal resources away from asylum seekers and hand them to the Australian Government, increasing the risk of vulnerable people being sent back to danger. Read more here.

Critical questions about Manus Island violence remain unanswered

The Australian Government's explanation for February's violence on Manus Island is inadequate and leaves critical questions unanswered. Read more here.

Federal Budget summary 2014-15

RCOA has released a summary of refugee-related spending in the 2014-15 Federal Budget. Read more here.

Detention centre closures must be accompanied by community alternatives

RCOA has welcomed plans to close six immigration detention centres but called for greater use of community arrangements for more than 3000 asylum seekers in detention. Read more here.

Enough is Enough: It's time for a new approach

On the first anniversary of the report on the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, 64 Australian NGOs have called for a new approach to refugee and asylum policy that delivers protection to refugees. Read more here.


Annual Intake Submission

RCOA's annual intake submission brings together commuity views and extensive research on issues to consider in planning the coming year's refugee program.


Add your voice to ours

For 33 years, the Refugee Council of Australia has worked hard to be a strong and credible community voice for the humane treatment for people seeking asylum. The situation for people seeking refuge protection has never been as dire as it is now and never has there been a greater need for the Refugee Council’s work.

We know many Australians share our deep concern that highly vulnerable people are increasingly under political attack and we urgently need your help to ensure that this deep community concern is heard by Australia’s decision makers.With your support, we can continue to work with refugee communities and the services which support them, putting forward constructive alternatives to policies which cause harm.

It is only with your help that we can continue to develop these practical responses to the settlement challenges faced by new arrivals. With your support we can continue and expand our work in creating opportunities for people who have been refugees themselves to be centrally involved in our national and international advocacy and our public education on refugee issues.

Please consider whether you can become a monthly supporter of the Refugee Council, or make a one-off donation here. In doing so, you are raising the voice of compassion and justice in the face of such brutality. Every cent of your tax-deductible donation will help us continue to raise a voice for refugees.

You can also support our tireless and credible advocacy for people seeking protection from persecution by becoming a member. Download our membership brochure here.


The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them. It has more than 180 organisational and 700 individual members. RCOA promotes the adoption of flexible, humane and practical policies towards refugees and asylum seekers both within Australia and internationally through conducting research, advocacy, policy analysis and community education.

Our website contains a wealth of information and resources to help you find out about the key issues affecting refugee and asylum seekers both in Australia and internationally, the work of RCOA and the practical ways you can support refugees and asylum seekers.

Below is a guide to navigating the website and finding information and resources you need.

About Us

Learn more about the aims, work and history of RCOA; the different branches of our work including the A Just Australia campaign and the Australian Refugee Foundation; our Board, staff and members; our sources of income; the principles which inform our work; and our Annual General Meeting. You can also download copies of our previous annual reports and audited financial statements.


Under the "Resources" menu, you can access a range of resources on refugee and asylum seeker issues, including:

Fact Sheets

RCOA’s fact sheets provide information on a wide variety of issues relating to refugees and asylum seekers, ranging from international refugee law to Australia’s asylum policies to challenges faced by newly-arrived refugees when settling in Australia. You can also find responses to common myths and hoax e-mails about refugees and asylum seekers.

Our fact sheets provide a useful overview of key issues and are a good starting point for research. Many of the fact sheets also include links to further information and resources.


Providing answers to the most common questions and requests received by RCOA, our FAQs page is a good starting point if you are searching for information about our work or issues relating to refugees and asylum seekers.

News & Events

Download our media releases and read the latest news on issues relating to refugees and asylum seekers. Under this menu, you will also find our nationwide calendar of upcoming events, a monthly digest of refugee and asylum seeker issues in the media, copies of our monthly bulletins and information on how to join our mailing list.

Get Involved

Find out how to support the work of RCOA through making a donation, becoming an individual or organisational member and joining our mailing list. You will also find details about employment and volunteering vacancies at RCOA and other organisations and information about opportunities in a variety of areas, including research, academia, education, the arts, sport, competitions and award nominations.