New joint study to explore the achievements of refugee settlement across Australian major cities

Cultural diversity is central to the Australian national identity but little research has been done to explore trends across the largest destination areas for refugees who have settled in Australia.

Now, a joint project, Settlement Cities: A Place-based Look at Humanitarian Settlement in Australia, initiated by the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education aims to undertake the first in-depth look at refugee settlement through the lens of Australia’s major settlement cities.

The 12-month study is being run in partnership with ACU’s Stakeholder Engaged Scholarship Unit as well as 17 other Australian organisations including local city councils.

The project will focus on refugee settlement in the local government areas of Hume, Casey and Greater Dandenong in Melbourne, Fairfield and Liverpool in Sydney’s South West, Salisbury in Northern Adelaide, and Logan City in Brisbane.

The study aims to reveal the challenges each city has faced when accommodating large numbers of new arrivals, as well as the key lessons these places can teach policymakers and politicians about how to tackle refugee settlement into the future.

Director of the Edmund Rice Centre Mr Phil Glendenning said the project was timely given the recent declaration by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the humanitarian emergency in Afghanistan, where more than 600,000 people were displaced from their homes.

While the Australian government set aside 3,000 humanitarian visas in response to the Afghanistan crisis, Mr Glendenning said more research was needed to help Australian cities improve their support to refugees.

“As conflicts escalate and conditions worsen overseas, now more than ever we need to be looking at what Australian cities can be doing to better support our refugees who come here in search of safety and security,” Mr Glendenning said.

“By understanding what has been working well and where we can improve, we can learn from our experience and better support refugees to feel at home in our communities.

“We need to hear about services and experiences on the ground through local councils, non-profits, grassroots organisations and the refugee communities themselves, and that is exactly what this project does.”

Vice-President of ACU Fr Anthony Casamento CSMA said that the project would help strengthen the case for ongoing and increased funding for important settlement programs.

“This research will help service providers to campaign to state and federal governments for stronger support and more just social policies”, Fr Casamento said.

The Edmund Rice Centre has partnered with 18 other Australian organisations on this project, including Logan City Council, MultiLink Community Services, and Settlement Services International/Access Community Services in Queensland; CORE Community Services, Fairfield City Council, Liverpool City Council, Settlement Services International, and Western Sydney MRC in NSW; Settlement Council of Australia in the ACT; ACU, AMES Australia, City of Casey, Greater Dandenong City Council, Hume City Council, South East Community Links, Southern Migrant & Refugee Centre, and Spectrum MRC in Victoria; and Australian Migrant Resource Centre, and City of Salisbury in South Australia.

The project is now inviting anyone involved in refugee settlement within any of the focus local government areas, or refugees from those communities, to be part of the study. If you are interested in joining the study, please contact

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