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The National Settlement Policy Network (SPN) is a joint initiative of RCOA and the Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) to enable our members to participate in planning joint advocacy on settlement issues. RCOA and SCOA co-host quarterly SPN teleconferences that focus on specific themes. The teleconferences provide an opportunity for members to hear from guest speakers with expertise in particular areas of settlement policy, raise issues of concern and share ideas for ways forward.

After each teleconference, RCOA and SCOA produce a report containing summaries of presentations by guest speakers, key points raised during the discussion and an outline of next steps. These reports are available for download below. Past agendas, containing links to useful background information, are also available for download.

For more information on the SPN, including details of how to get involved, click here.

Latest teleconference:

Telling positive stories: Building the case for a bigger resettlement program (Wednesday 25 November 2015)

This SPN meeting will update on the increase in the humanitarian intake for Syrian and Iraqi humanitarian entrants the progress on Government policy implementing this increase. The teleconference also welcome a presentation by Digital Storytellers on the power of storytelling to create impacts for change.

Past teleconferences

Refugee Community Organisations: Working together to support settlement (Wednesday 2 September 2015)

Speakers at this SPN teleconference included Sahema Saberi, former executive member of the Australian Hazara Students’ Group, and Caz Coleman, Director, Melaleuca Refugee Centre.

Volunteering: Settlement agencies’ good practices (Thursday 21 May 2015)

This SPN teleconference focused on the topic Volunteering: Settlement agencies’ good practices. Speakers included Brad Chilcott, Director of Welcome to Australia, and Molly Kennedy, National Refugee Services Manager at the New Zealand Red Cross.

Creating Community Harmony: Sharing ways to address racial discrimination (26 February 2015)

Following on from recent events in Australia and around the world which have the potential to challenge the cohesiveness of our multicultural society, and the recently proposed unsuccessful amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, this teleconference focused on the importance of processes and strategies to respond to racism in our communities. Guest speakers included Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission; and Maha Krayem Abdo OAM, Executive Officer, Muslim Women’s Association.

English Language Services for refugees: Responding to the evaluation (3 December 2014)

An evaluation of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and Skills for Education and Employment (SEE) was conducted by the Department of Industry by ACIL Allen Consulting. The Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) and Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) used this opportunity to have a focussed discussion on the provision of English language training and classes to refugees through the Settlement Policy Network (SPN).

Building a New Life in Australia (21 October 2014)

  • Download report
  • Download agenda

The teleconference focussed on preliminary findings from Building a New Life in Australia, a longitudinal study of humanitarian entrants to Australia.

Long-term housing solutions for humanitarian entrants (30 July 2014)

RCOA presented findings from recent research on challenges faced by humanitarian entrants when seeking sustainable housing and successful strategies used by service providers and communities to address these challenges.

Supporting humanitarian entrants with disabilities (8 May 2014)

This SPN teleconference focused on the implications for humanitarian entrants of two recent policy developments: the relaxation of the health requirement for humanitarian entrants being resettled from overseas, which has allowed larger numbers of people with disabilities to be resettled in Australia under the Refugee and Humanitarian Program; and the progressive rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Speakers includes Dwayne Cranfield, CEO, National Ethnic Disability Alliance, and Sandy Eagar, Nurse Manager, NSW Refugee Health Service.

Local Government and settlement (18 February 2014)

This SPN teleconference focused on the role of Local Government in the settlement process and opportunities for settlement service providers to engaging with Local Government on settlement issues. Speakers included Rolf Fenner, Senior Policy Advisor, Australian Local Government Association; Con Pagonis, Multicultural Policy Advisor, Municipal Association of Victoria; and Cr Gaetano Greco, Mayor of Darebin Council.

Settlement policies: Where to from here? Advocacy priorities for the settlement sector under a new Government (2 October 2013)

This SPN teleconference provided participants an opportunity to discuss how the settlement sector can best engage with the new Government, what our collective advocacy priorities should be and what questions we should raise with Ministers in the new Government. Speakers included Ramesh Kumar, General Manager SASP, AMES; and Violet Roumeliotis, CEO, Settlement Services International (SSI).

Domestic violence and settlement (26 June 2013)

The SPN teleconference held on Wednesday 26 June focused on the topic Domestic violence and settlement. It included a brief presentation from SCOA on current research on domestic violence in settling communities and presentations from settlement practitioners on their experiences and strategies in addressing domestic violence within these communities.

Humanitarian family reunion: Challenges and opportunities in a new policy context (3 April 2013)

The SPN teleconference held on 3 April 2013 focused on the implications of recent changes to

Australia’s policies on humanitarian family reunion, stemming from the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers. The aim of the teleconference was to assist service providers to offer constructive advice to clients on family reunion options. The teleconference also provided an opportunity to discuss issues and challenges faced by refugee and humanitarian entrants seeking to reunite with their families through the Special Humanitarian Program (SHP) and the family stream of the Migration Program.

Unaccompanied humanitarian minors: Exploring gaps, challenges and models of care across Australia (31 October 2012)

This teleconference, which was held in partnership with the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN), included presentations from Nadine Liddy, National Coordinator of MYAN, and Dr Helena de Anstiss, Director of Multicultural Youth South Australia (MYSA). The teleconference also provided an opportunity for participants to ask questions and raise concerns about gaps and challenges facing UHMs.

Asylum seekers in the community: Policy and practice implications for settlement services (29 August 2012)

This teleconference provided an opportunity for those involved in the settlement sector across Australia to hear more about recent policy changes with regards to community release of asylum seekers and some of the implications for settlement services. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions of speakers about recent changes and raise any issues and concerns based on the observations and experiences of settlement services at a local level.

Income management: How will it affect refugee and migrant communities? (23 May 2012)

This SPN teleconference provided an opportunity for settlement service providers and refugee and migrant communities to hear more about the new income management policy that will come into effect on 1 July 2012 in the local government areas of Playford (SA), Shepparton (Vic), Bankstown (NSW) and Logan and Rockhampton (Qld), as well as to raise concerns about how this new program may impact local refugee and migrant communities.

Tackling racism: Towards a National Anti-Racism Partnership and Strategy (18 April 2012)

This teleconference focused on tackling racism and provided an opportunity for participants to discuss and provide feedback into the National Anti-Racism Partnership and Strategy.

Housing, homelessness and refugee settlement: The discussion (7 December 2011)

This teleconference was intended as a follow-up from the successful 8 November SPN teleconference on the topic of Housing, homelessness, and refugee settlement. It provided an opportunity for participants to discuss perspectives on the issues and solutions.

Housing, homelessness and refugee settlement (8 November 2011)

This teleconference provided an opportunity for members to discuss the key concerns for refugee and humanitarian entrants and settlement services with regards to the current housing situation, hear about where things are at in terms of housing and homelessness for refugee and humanitarian entrants, and discuss whether things are moving in the right direction.

Research on settlement outcomes (17 August 2011)

This teleconference focused on the topic Measuring settlement: Exploring new research on refugee settlement outcomes and its implications for settlement services and policy. Its purpose was highlight the findings of two recent research studies on settlement outcomes – the Settlement Outcomes of New Arrivals (SONA) published by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, and a report by Professor Graeme Hugo from the University of Adelaide on the Economic, social and civic contributions of first and second generation humanitarian entrants – and discuss possible implications for settlement services and policy.

Settlement experiences and challenges faced by ex-detainees (7 April 2011)

Australia’s policy of detaining asylum seekers who arrive without prior authorisation has meant that an increasing number of people granted protection visas have, or will have, spent a significant amount of time in immigration detention. Recent changes to the eligibility criteria for settlement services has also permitted refugees granted protection onshore to have access to IHSS/HSS where they previously were ineligible.

Public discourse on Australia’s refugee policies (23 November 2010)

This discussion focused on the impact of public debate not only on refugee communities settling in Australia, but also on the ability of settlement service providers to provide support to these communities. Feedback from this teleconference was used to inform RCOA’s 2011-2012 intake submission..

Migration advice (24 August 2010)

The August teleconference focused on the topic The search for representation: Issues and ideas for migration advice in Australia. It considered issues such as the availability of pro-bono migration advice, the distribution of this advice and the lack of capacity of settlement services and legal centres to provide advice.

Sustainable employment pathways (1 June 2010)

This teleconference focused on the topic of Getting on the right track: Sustainable employment pathways for refugee and humanitarian entrants in Australia. It discussed the findings of RCOA’s research report What Works: Employment strategies for refugee and humanitarian entrants (available for download on our reports, papers and briefings page).

Refugee health (2 March 2010)

The first National Settlement Policy Network Teleconference for 2010 focused on the topic of Refugee Health: Successes and challenges of refugee health network coordination. The presentations focused on what is happening at state and national levels, with regard to the co-ordination of refugee health services. Presenters reviewed issues and related responses in refugee health and highlighted the achievements and challenges of refugee health services coordination.

Upcoming teleconference

The next teleconference will be held after the Federal Election and will be a follow up discussion on employment and Jobactive.


30Nov 16

Inquiry into migrant settlement outcomes

On 17 November 2016, the Joint Standing Committee on Migration was asked to inquire into and report on migrant settlement outcomes. This is an important inquiry and we encouraged all our…

30Jul 14

SPN: Long-term housing solutions for humanitarian entrants

RCOA presented findings from recent research on challenges faced by humanitarian entrants when seeking sustainable housing and successful strategies used by service providers and communities to address these challenges. Download…

18Feb 14

SPN: Local Government and settlement

The SPN teleconference which was held on the 18th of February 2014 was on the issue of local government and settlement. Participants dialled in from hubs in ACT, New South…

26Jun 13

SPN: Domestic violence and settlement

Migrant and refugee communities from CALD backgrounds settling in Australia have unique experiences prior to and throughout the settlement process that impacts upon their understandings of domestic violence. They may…

See all reports

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