Refugee Council of Australia
Audience clapping

2018 Conference Report


Recommendations to the Australian Government, civil society organisations, local and refugee communities, and the private sector in Australia.

Human rights-based approach

The Australian Government should stop pushing a managed migration agenda above all else and instead align itself with a principled and human rights-based approach.

Lived experience

People from refugee backgrounds must be driving policy, and this may be achieved by:

  • Allowing refugees to represent self-reliance, agency, innovation and solutions
  • Allowing refugees to start projects and companies and employ locals
  • Changing the dialogue, so instead of perpetuating myths that “refugees take up money and space and healthcare”, it discusses people’s ability to make change.

A bill of rights

Australia should introduce a bill, charter, or declaration of rights.


Australia must establish a better option for private or community sponsorship, drawing on lessons from the Canadian model.

Offshore detention

Australia must end its offshore detention policy.

Legal reform and SRSS eligibility

The Australian Government must implement the following:

  • Grant equal protection and rights to people who arrive by boat
  • Make the process of seeking asylum simpler, fairer and shorter
  • Remove restrictions on temporary visa holders so that they have a pathway to permanent residency and can reunite their families
  • Reverse changes to SRSS eligibility.


The Australian Government must implement the following:

  • Reverse changes to SRSS eligibility that make accessing education even more difficult for people seeking asylum
  • Equalise eligibility for the Vocational Educational Training program.

Access to legal services

The Australian government, civil society and the private sector need to work towards:

  • The evaluation and documentation of successful models used in different parts of Australia to work towards a national model
  • Development of legal services for rural areas given the increasing number of people moving to regional Australia due to the introduction of the Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEVs)
  • Continued support for legal services for refugees who have been granted a SHEV or Temporary Protection Visa.


The Australian Government should work towards:

  • The creation of mechanisms to address the cases of statelessness within Australia
  • The recognition of children born in Australia to mothers who are detained on Nauru as Australian citizens.

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