As the Refugee Council of Australia is the national umbrella body for organisations working to help people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, one of our roles is to support and facilitate collaboration within the sector.
The Refugee Council of Australia chairs and takes part in a number of networks and teleconferences. For example, in Victoria we chair the Network of Asylum Seekers Agencies Victoria (NASAVic), a network of Victorian agencies involved in supporting and advocating for people seeking asylum. Monthly NASAVic meetings helps service providers communicate and collaborate on common issues. NASAVic helps the sector to identify gaps and overlapping areas of interests, maximise resources, share expertise and enables us to work together to advocate on key issues. The Refugee Council of Australia also participates in a similar network in NSW, the Asylum Seeker Interagency.
The Refugee Council also chairs two national teleconferences (known as the Asylum Process Network) every month, one on detention and offshore processing and the other focusing on people seeking asylum in the community. These teleconferences are limited to people working closely with people seeking asylum, and participants regularly include service providers, advocates and lawyers.
The Asylum Process Network helps us identify emerging and continuing issues and challenges across the country. For example, the monthly teleconference on Asylum Process includes regular discussions on the ‘fast track’ process now being used to determine people’s refugee claims, and the introduction of temporary protection visas. The monthly teleconference on detention and offshore processing helps us identify changes in the conditions of detention in Australia, and opportunities to advocate on common challenges.
Settlement Policy Network
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. For more information on this Network, please read on here.
Engaging with other networks and interagencies
The Refugee Council of Australia also attends many other networks and interagencies, including several convened together with Commonwealth and State government representatives, and as an invited guest to other regular events.