Funding supports refugee & asylum seeker health

29 September 2016

REFUGEES and people currently seeking asylum will get the health and mental health support they need to help them settle in Victoria through a recently announced $11 million in government funding.

The funding is a response to growing Syrian and Iraqi refugee settlement in Victoria and will better support people from refugee backgrounds, as well as people seeking asylum, to settle in their new home in Victoria.

The number of refugees and asylum seekers in Victoria is higher than at any time in the past three decades with this figure expected to grow.

Estimates indicate that Victoria will settle up to 4,000 additional Syrian and Iraqi refugees, on top of an ongoing refugee intake of at least 4,000 per year.

The Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said that people seeking refuge from war torn nations show immense courage and resilience.

‘It’s only right that we give them the support they need to rebuild their lives in a new, safe home’ said Minister Hennessy

‘We’re making sure that people who have fled torture and trauma have access to the health care and opportunities they need to re-settle in Victoria, when and where they are needed most,’ she said.

The $11 million funding package includes:

  • Three refugee health nurses providing community health outreach services in Dallas and Sunshine
  • A paediatric specialist Refugee Health Fellow to hold regular outreach clinics in Melbourne’s north
  • A new catch-up immunisation program for children, adolescents and adults from refugee backgrounds
  • Extra language services and a new grants program for hospitals to improve access to interpreting services
  • A package of new programs to support child, youth and family refugee mental health
  • Targeted child and family services support for unaccompanied refugee children and young people.

A new CareerSeekers internship program for refugees and asylum seekers will also see four interns undertake a paid three-month internship at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The program will provide opportunities for gaining Australian workplace experience and recognises the skills, qualifications and knowledge that people from refugee backgrounds bring to Victoria.

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