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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.


Employment strategies for refugee and humanitarian entrants

This report analyses solutions to the barriers that refugee entrants face in making the transition to meaningful, sustainable employment in Australia.


Media releases


27 August Grave fears for asylum seeker forcibly returned to Afghanistan
22 August No excuse for ongoing detention of children
19 August Efforts to return Syrian refugees unconscionable
19 August Time to end detention of children once and for all
15 August Government must stop deception and do more to protect Iraqis
13 August Welfare system review needs greater focus on humanitarian entrants
6 August MPs hear communtiy concerns about weakening protection against race hate
31 July Refugee Council appalled by claims of cruelty to children in detention
30 July Independent guardian needed to protect interests of child asylum seekers
29 July Allowing Indian consular access to asylum seekers ignores protection claims
9 July Child asylum seekers locked up at higher rate than adults
7 July RCOA backs call for independent observer for screening process
7 July Australia's answers on return of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka unsatisfactory
1 July Australia at risk of returning asylum seekers to danger in Sri Lanka
26 June Lives on the line under proposed changes to Migration Act
23 June Pressing need for global action to tackle protracted displacement
23 June High Court decision on Protection Visa freeze welcomed
18 June UN High Commissioner criticises Australia's 'strange' obsession with boats
14 June Australians urged to restore hope for refugees and repair a tarnished reputation
11 June Rohingya refugees forgotten in Australian rhetoric about deaths at sea
6 June Cambodian NGOs unite in opposition to Australia's refugee deal
2 June Running an asylum policy on cruelty leads to deadly consequences
30 May Government removes Refugee Council’s core funding
28 May Refugee review changes a matter of life and death for asylum seekers
27 May Critical questions about Manus Island violence remain unanswered
22 May Fears refugees wil be pressured into Cambodia solution
8 May Detention centre closures must be accompanied by community alternatives
1 May Former refugees fear racism, abuse if Racial Discrimination Act is weakened
30 April Cambodia resettlement deal raises concerns over safety of refugees
22 April Indonesian Foreign Minister's comments on refugee protection welcomed
31 March Restricting legal assistance to asylum seekers increases dangers
9 March No fairness and integrity in permanent Protection Visa freeze
5 March Australia's asylum policy must change to avoid long-term damage
24 February Denial of work rights for asylum seekers must be overturned
18 February Manus Island disturbance a tragedy waiting to happen
17 February Refugee intake increase vital to meet urgent protection needs
12 February Mental health risks as asylum seekers face more time in detention
3 February Inquiry into immigration detention of children welcomed
30 January Refugee Welcome Zones show local communities can make a difference
28 January Australia Day Honours recognise community efforts for refugees
24 January Former refugee honoured in inaugural New Australian of the Year Award
10 January Family reunion changes will put lives at risk


16 December Independent oversight of asylum seekers' health essential
4 December Visa freeze a new low in Australia's treatment of asylum seekers
18 November Australia-Sri Lanka cooperation raises serious human rights concerns
6 November Stop using 'illegal' label: 138 groups appeal to PM
19 October Return to Temporary Protection Visas is punishment not deterrence
29 September Challenges of refugee protection require greater cooperation
1 September Denial of legal advice would put asylum seekers' lives at risk
30 August RCOA mourns loss of life member Harold Grant
23 August Australia must heed UN call to release refugees from indefinite detention
21 August Jakarta meeting another lost opportunity to protect the most vulnerable
16 August Removing review rights for asylum seekes would deny natural justice
13 August Enough is enough: It's time for a new approach
2 August Resettlement statistics explode myth of regular pathways for refugees
27 July Operation Sovereign Borders an immature response to serious humanitarian challenges
24 July PNG solution a collective punishment for victims of Taliban
23 July Australian hypocrisy undermines regional efforts to protect refugees
19 July Australia's refugee response not the most generous but in top 25
4 July Australia's doubling of Refugee Program praised in global resettlement forum
28 June Fairness and justice should underpin Refugee Status Determination
17 June Abandoning Refugee Convention counter-productive
13 June Middle East provides an impressive lesson in hospitality
3 June Shortcomings in pilot sponsorship program
16 May Australia’s expanded excision law a new low in refugee protection
7 May Right to work fundamental for asylum seeker families
1 May Detention of children no longer a last resort
17 April People displaced by climate change require new solutions
5 April Government urged to release children from Manus Island detention
22 March Parliament urged to support Bill to resolve indefinite detention of refugees
20 March Federal Court case on Afghan removals welcomed
18 March City of Ryde Council praised for positive leadership on refugees
18 March Opposition's denial of appeal rights more punishment for asylum seekers
25 February Violence in Quetta exacerbates pain of family separation
13 February Regional refugee protection in Asia-Pacific is unfinished business
4 February Australia must act on UNHCR report on Manus Island detention
31 January Excision policy undermines regional refugee protection
26 January National honour for former Refugee Council President



20 December

Malaysia deserves praise for accepting stranded asylum seekers
18 December Aid budget should be preserved
15 December Pilot sponsorship misses the mark
13 December Resettlement program for at-risk Afghan employees welcomed
6 December Call for suspension of forced return of asylum seekers to Sri Lanka
5 December David Bitel
23 November Opposition cut to refugee program a cause for despair
23 November No place for cruelty in asylum policy
22 November Questions raised over returns to Afghanistan and Sri Lanka
21 November 'No Advantage' is maximum disadvantage for boat arrivals
21 November Manus Island is no place for refugee families
1 November Excision policy the final brick in Fortress Australia's wall
28 September RCOA farewells John Gibson
3 September Alarm at Opposition call to reject all Sri Lankan asylum seekers
23 August Resettlement increase a step in the right direction
17 August New Australian legislation undermines global asylum system
15 August Protection sidelined in rush to implement deterrence
14 August Australia must meet its regional responsibilities for refugees
20 July Improving regional refugee protection key to asylum policy
28 June Regional refugee protection in the Asia-Pacific
18 June Poorer nations show leadership on refugee protection
15 June New website dispels misinformation about seeking asylum
7 June Refugee Week 2012 - "Restoring Hope"
4 May An unhappy 20th birthday for mandatory detention
2 May Homestay network important part of asylum seeker support
30 April Global campaign to end child detention wants 428 video messages from Australian youth
30 March Legislated time limits for immigration detention essential
20 March Bill fails to address refugee protection needs
19 March Refugee Council welcomes uniform asylum process
2 March Refugee Council welcomes Minister for Multicultural Affairs
17 February Victoria to showcase refugee resettlement services
17 February The Daily Telegraph wrong about asylum seekers
1 February Australia urged to take lead on resettlement


22 December Nauru is no solution
25 November Refugee and asylum seeker policy on a positive pathway
22 November Public forum to celebrate Refugee Council of Australia’s 30th
17 October Resettlement freeze sends wrong message
14 October Migration changes a positive start
23 September Regional refugee protection framework vital
19 September Complementary protection legislation passed
16 September Limits to immigration detention urged
12 September Refugee protections ignored in offshore revival
5 September ACT takes lead on asylum seeker support
31 August Refugee Council welcomes High Court ruling
19 August Manus Island deal is Pacific Solution 2.0
26 July Australia - Malaysia deal undermines regional push for protection
24 June A better way: A risk based approach to immigration detention
20 June UN refugee figures show asylum fears unfounded
17 June Refugee Week marks search for freedom from fear
2 June Detention inquiry a good start but action needed
26 May Urgent need for detention reform highlighted yet again
8 May Malaysia's appalling rights record ignored in refugee transfer deal
6 May Manus detention plan undermines international cooperation
5 May Opposition plumbs new depths in attack on refugee arrivals
27 April Increase in long-term detention at heart of unrest
14 April Scrutiny of detention welcomed
5 April New detention centre: Same problems, more cost
28 March Australian aid and resettlement critical to Bali Process talks
15 March Detention needs overhaul not band-aid fix
4 March Government gets it wrong with more detention centres
24 February Bill offers greater protection for vulnerable people
7 January A missed opportunity to scrap an unfair system


22 December Refugee arrests in Thailand highlight struggle for protection in South-East Asia
15 December Christmas Island tragedy
14 December No Afghan returns without safety measures
11 November High Court ruling a critical step towards fairer asylum system
18 October Refugee Council welcomes plans to release children from detention
11 October Refugee Council supports call to release children from detention
30 September Refugee Council welcomes lifting of suspension
17 September Time to review detention policy
3 August Four Corners report highlights need for more effective regional response to refugees
2 August Australia cannot act alone on asylum boats
6 July International cooperation and natural justice critical to new regional refugee processing proposal
23 June UNHCR statistics expose spin on asylum issues
21 June Need to look for solutions during Refugee Week 2010
27 May Coalition policies a return to punishing vulnerable people
6 May People smuggling inquiry ignores advice
5 May International NGOs highlight damage caused by Australian suspension of asylum claims
18 April Reopening Curtin a step backwards for reform
9 April Halt in refugee processing creates detention concerns
3 April Simplistic political rhetoric undermines efforts to protect victims of persecution
24 March Response to latest UNHCR statistics on asylum applications in industrialised countries
24 February Release of 2010-11 Intake Submission: Australia urged to take greater leadership in refugee resettlement
23 February Entrepreneurial refugees bring economic and social benefits to Australia: new report
29 January Senator Fielding all wrong on detention


17 November RCOA's statement on the situation of asylum seekers aboard the Merak boat
8 November RCOA calls for a humane resolution to the Oceanic Viking impasse
17 October RCOA calls for no scaremongering
8 September Refugee Council welcomes passing of Immigration Detention Debt Abolition Bill
24 June Refugee Council calls for a strengthened humanitarian response to ongoing crisis in Sri Lanka
19 June UNHCR figures highlight need to support host countries
15 June New report highlights refugees' struggle to find protection
11 June Refugees to share stories of fear and freedom at Refugee Week launches
10 June NSW Refugee Week ambassadors share stories
3 June Refugee Week: June 14-20, Australians to celebrate refugees' freedom from fear
13 May Federal Budget 2009-10: Common sense changes build fairer refugee determination process
20 April Refugee Council calls for humane and moral response to unauthorised boat arrivals
17 April Refugee Council calls for rational public debate in wake of asylum seeker boat tragedy


8 December Opposition rewrites history with claims about temporary protection
16 August New high security detention centre unsuitable for asylum seekers
29 July Detention changes help to restore Australia's human rights record
11 July Proust report release a valuable step in dialogue about asylum changes
11 June Les Murray AM - a refugee kid who became Australia's face of football
5 June Refugee Week - June 15-21, 2008: A Place to Call Home
13 May Ending Temporary Protection: another step in vital reforms
13 May Controversy highlights need to reform refugee determination system
8 February Closure of Nauru detention centre welcomed


10 December Refugee Council welcomes beginning of the end of the 'Pacific Solution'
2 October Kevin Andrews' comments on African intake undermine refugee program
2 October Response to outlandish claims about benefits to refugees
12 September Decision on 72 asylum seekers on Nauru welcomed
17 August Refugee Council welcomes closure of Baxter Detention Centre
14 June Refugee Week marks contribution of young refugees
9 May Refugee Council response to 2007-08 Federal Budget
9 May Steps towards resettling asylum seekers from Indonesia welcomed
18 April Asylum swap with US denies Australia's regional obligations
28 March Denial of legal help on Nauru increases chance of people being returned to persecution
15 March Nauru decision another sorry chapter in Australia's treatment of asylum seekers
26 February RCOA's key concerns about Sri Lankan asylum seekers on Christmas Island
24 February Call for fair hearing for Sri Lankan asylum seekers
5 February RCOA seeks Government assurance on African refugee resettlement
17 January RCOA welcomes Tamworth Council's review of decision on refugee resettlement


15 December Call for Tamworth Council to reconsider rejection of refugee resettlement
7 December RCOA condemns Pauline Hanson's cowardly attacks on African Australians
6 December Commonwealth Ombudsman's reports on wrongful detention welcomed
17 October Refugee Week begins
16 October RCOA welcomes Labor Party's review of Temporary Protection Visa policy
14 August RCOA welcomes withdrawal of Migration Bill
10 August Parliamentary vote on Migration Bill diminishes Australia's reputation
8 August RCOA urges inquiry into deaths of failed asylum seekers
14 June Senate committee's rejection of Migration Bill welcomed
29 May Call to reactivate Safe Haven visa for East Timorese
21 April RCOA appoints new CEO
18 April Further concern that Federal Government is flouting Refugee Convention to appease Indonesia
11 April Concern that Federal Government's current review of Australia's refugee obligations will breach 1951 Refugee Convention
30 March Commonwealth Ombudsman recommends the release of 'Mr X', the longest serving detainee
1 February Concerning PKK listing as a terrorist organisation
24 January Concerning Arrival of West Papuans
5 January Call for Justice for Asylum Seekers in Cairo


15 July Refugee Council of Australia calls for a judicial inquiry into immigration detention and removals
20-22 July June Detention Reforms
6 June Refugee Council of Australia calls on all political parties to support detention bills
23 March Refugee Council responds to creation of new visa class for detainees


13 July Announcement welcome but fails to address fundamental problems of TPVs
13 May Child-friendly Government? RCOA response to HREOC report: “A Last Resort?”
12 May Refugee Council welcomes committment to refugee settlement in Federal Budget
23 March RCOA welcomes increase in refugee numbers
12 March Call for increase in size of Humanitarian Program
23 January ALP Policy on TPVs: A step in the right direction


14 November Refugee Council Decries: 'This is not the Australian Way'
6 November Council laments disproportionate excision policy
20 March Commitment of troops to Iraq
12 March Forced return of Iranian asylum seekers
5 March RCOA supports East Timorese Bill


19 December Trying to defend the indefensible
3 December RCOA welcomes ALP refugee policy initatives
8 August Call for a judical inquiry into the operation of the Refugee Review Tribunal
1 August Government unwise to ignore UN Refugee Report
22 July A case study of Australia's committment to families
19 June Councils declare themselves Refugee Welcome Zones
7 May Australia cuts back its committment to UNHCR
14 February Representing asylum seekers honestly
7 January It's too early to send Afghans back


24 September Asylum seekers used for election gain
19 September Refugee Council asks for empathy with all victims of persecution
10 September Refugee Council denounces latest knee-jerk proposals
28 August Australia turns its back on those in need - again!
14 August Time for alternatives
13 August Minister's legislative amendments threaten refugee protection
20 June MP and Ruddock leave out relevant facts on refugees
30 March Anti-Human Rights Bill must be defeated


31 July Criticisms of Australia's mandatory detention policy
9 June Protests at Woomera Detention Centre
13 April Return of Kosovars
5 April Savage cut to Humanitarian Program
25 February No justification to stop processing of Humanitarian Program