Refugee Council of Australia
Who we are
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Who we are

The Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) is the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them. It has approximately 200 organisational and over 300 individual members.

Formed in November 1981, RCOA is a non-profit, non-government organisation registered as an incorporated association in the Australian Capital Territory. It is funded through contributions from its members and by project grants from philanthropic bodies and government agencies. The priority activities for RCOA are set by its members, as represented by an elected Board.

RCOA’s own work is centred around five key areas: research and policy analysis, support for refugees, support for its members, community education and administration. In addition, RCOA seeks funding for specific projects that directly relate to our objectives and enhance our capacity to serve the refugee community.

In its strategic planning for the three years to 2024, the Refugee Council of Australia defined its Vision, Purpose, Guiding Principles and Focus Areas in the following way:


For the voices of refugees to be heard, the rights of refugees to be respected, the humanity of refugees valued and the contribution and leadership of refugees celebrated.


To advocate for the development of humane, lawful and constructive policies towards refugees and people seeking asylum by Australia and other governments and their communities.

Guiding Principles

As RCOA is constantly being called on to respond publicly as new issues and new proposed responses emerge, the RCOA Board has developed a set of six principles to guide the formulation of RCOA policy positions. You can download this here.

Focus Areas 2022-2024

During the period 2022-2024, RCOA will work with its members, refugee communities and other relevant sectoral companions towards:

  • Advocacy and research
  • Refugee leadership and representation
  • Public awareness and support for refugees
  • Enablers to support the organisation to deliver its mission

These focus areas are outlined in more detail in RCOA’s 2022-2024 strategic plan, which you can download here.

RCOA’s strategic plan 2022-2024
Size : 301.7 kB Format : PDF

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