The 2018-2019 Pre-Budget submission (December 2017)
On 20 September 2017, the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer called for submissions from individuals, businesses and community groups seeking their views regarding priorities for the 2018-19 Budget.
Submission on the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support Discussion Paper (December 2017)
The Refugee Council of Australia made a submission on the Discussion Paper by the Department of Social Services (DSS) on the future of the Settlement Grants Program. The paper had been developed to guide sector consultations and provided an opportunity for currently funded Settlement Grant providers and other key stakeholders to provide views and ideas on the proposed changes to the Program before the next funding round.
Submission to the Inquiry on the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2017 (October 2017)
In this submission, the Refugee Council of Australia expresses profound concerns about the likely effect of the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2017 on people in detention, their families and support networks as well as visitors to immigration detention facilities. We are greatly concerned that this Bill aims to introduce further restrictions to an immigration detention environment that is already highly restrictive.
Submission on visa simplification framework (September 2017)
On 31 July 2017, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection opened public consultations on reforming the Australian visa system. In this submission, we made early comments on a discussion paper proposing a fundamental simplification of the visa framework.
Submission to Inquiry on the Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Bill 2017 and the Migration Agents Registration Application Charge Amendment (Rates of Charge) Bill 2017 (September 2017)
This submission welcomes the introduction of two Bills that would change the regulation of lawyers who act as migration agents, the Migration Amendment (Regulation of Migration Agents) Bill 2017 and Migration Agents Registration Application Charge Amendment (Rates of Charge) Bill 2017 for inquiry and report by 16 October 2017
Submission to the inquiry into regional development and decentralisation (September 2017)
The Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation was established to inquire into best practice approaches to regional development and the potential, models and impacts of decentralisation. The Committee published an interim report on 8 December 2017.
The inquiry into Australian Border Force Amendment (Protected Information) Bill 2017 (August 2017)
On 10 August 2017, the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee began an inquiry into the Australian Border Force Amendment (Protected Information) Bill 2017. Submissions closed on 28 August 2017. The Committee reported on 12 September 2017. The Bill became law on 30 October 2017.
The inquiry into a Modern Slavery Act (August 2017)
On Wednesday, 15 February 2017 the Attorney-General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, asked the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade to inquire into and report on Establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia. The Committee was asked to examine whether Australia should adopt a comparable Modern Slavery Act. The Committee reported in December 2017.
Submission to inquiry into transitional arrangements for the NDIS (August 2017)
The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) established an inquiry into transitional arrangements for the NDIS. This submission highlighted key barriers for refugees with disabilities in receiving support under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and proposed recommendations for improving that support.
Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 (August 2017)
In this submission, we express our concerns the proposed amendments in the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 will further disadvantage newly arrived communities in finding employment. Refugees often face difficulties in gaining employment due to structural barriers, including those created by federally funded employment programs, such as the Jobactive Program.
This submission will provide an overview of the failure of the proposed amendments to social services legislation, including the Jobactive program, to meet the needs of refugee communities.
Submission on the Australian Citizenship Legislation (Strengthening Requirements) Amendment Bill 2017 (August 2017)
The Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 was introduced into Parliament on 15 June 2017. The Bill was introduced shortly after submissions closed on a discussion paper produced by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
The Bill includes the proposals made in the Discussion Paper and also provisions from a previous citizenship Bill, the Australian Citizenship and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2014. This Bill was also considered by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee in 2014. That Bill was not passed and lapsed in 2016.
Submission on the OPCAT in Australia consultation paper (July 2017)
On 9 February 2017, the Australian Government announced it intended to ratify the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). by December 2017. In this submission, we made recommendations in relation to the implementation of the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture. This treaty provides for oversight and coordination of the monitoring of detention, including immigration detention
The inquiry into school to work transition (August 2017)
On 31 May 2017, the Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training launched a new inquiry into School to Work Transition. This inquiry examined how better to support people to transition from school to work. RCOA’s submission endorsed the submission of the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network, which identified barriers faced by young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in this transition.
The consultation on proposed citizenship changes (June 2017)
On 20 April 2017, the Australian Government announced that it was seeking to make changes to the process of becoming an Australian citizen. The proposals were set out in a Discussion Paper and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection sought submissions to this Discussion Paper by 1 June 2017. A Bill was then introduced into Parliament. We opposed that Bill in an inquiry into that Bill by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee.
The inquiry into Strengthening Multiculturalism (May 2017)
On 27 March 2017, the Senate established the Select Committee on Strengthening Multiculturalism. The committee was asked to inquire into and report on ways of protecting and strengthening Australia’s multiculturalism and social inclusion. The Committee reported on 17 August 2017.
Submission on the status of the human right to freedom of religion or belief (May 2017)
The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade was asked to inquire into and report on the status of the human right to freedom of religion or belief on 29 November 2016.
The Committee was asked to examine the status of the freedom of religion or belief (as recognised in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) around the world, including in Australia. The Committee’s terms of reference invited submissions particularly on:
Submission on the Australian Government’s foreign policy White Paper (March 2017)
The Australian Government prepared a foreign policy White Paper, the first since 2003. Billed as a “comprehensive framework” to guide Australia’s international engagement over the next five to ten years, the White Paper was released in November 2017. Our submission on Australia’s foreign policy White Paper makes recommendations in relation to regional cooperation in the Asia Pacific, valuing multiculturalism, the value of diaspora communities and better engagement with international and regional organisations.
Submission into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform) Bill 2017 (March 2017)
On 9 February 2017, the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee began an inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform) Bill 2017. This Bill includes measures previously introduced in other Bills, including the Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures Bill 2015, and the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Measures) Bill 2015.
Submission into the inquiry into migrant settlement outcomes (February 2017)
On 17 November 2016, the Joint Standing Committee on Migration was asked to inquire into and report on migrant settlement outcomes. This submission into the inquiry on migrant settlement outcomes addresses proposals to exclude young people on the basis of character, the current settlement services framework, and provides suggestions on how to improve settlement experiences for people from refugee and asylum seeking backgrounds.
The inquiry into the proposed works at Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (February 2017)
On Thursday, 1 December 2016 the Minister for Small Business, Hon Michael McCormack MP, asked the Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works to inquire into and report on the Proposed Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation Project, Broadmeadows, Victoria.