The Victorian Government’s Settlement Coordination Unit (SCU) was established to facilitate a more coordinated and targeted approach to service delivery and support for newly arrived migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Victoria.
The SCU works with departments and agencies across the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments, as well as the community sector, to improve both access to and the effectiveness of services for recent arrivals. The Unit also supports programs and initiatives to assist recent arrivals to actively engage with the wider community.
The SCU’s primary functions include:
- driving and supporting collaborative approaches within and across all levels of government, and the community sector, to plan for and respond to settlement issues for newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers in Victoria;
- acting as the primary point of engagement with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship to ensure that Victoria’s interests and point of view is considered in the formulation of Commonwealth immigration and settlement policy; and
- managing the delivery of capacity building settlement programs across Victoria, including the:
- Refugee Action Program (RAP);
- Rights and Responsibilities Seminar Program (RRSP);
- Asylum Seeker Support Program (ASSP); and
- African Leadership Program.
Refugee Action Program
The Refugee Action Program (RAP) is a community capacity building program which aims to assist newly arrived refugees to better access services and engage with their local communities through the implementation of community driven solutions.
The RAP also incorporates the delivery of Rights and Responsibilities Seminars.
The RAP is delivered by key service providers across metropolitan and regional Victoria, including Geelong, Bendigo, Shepparton and Mildura.
An evaluation (and appendices) of the Refugee Action Program found it greatly improved settlement outcomes for refugees, through improving their access to services and information, reducing social isolation, and strengthening leadership capacity in emerging communities.
Asylum Seeker Support Program
The Asylum Seeker Support Program (ASSP) aims to strengthen the capacity of community-based asylum seekers to access critical support seven days a week including case work, housing, material aid and food programs. It also supports organisations to provide social, employment and skills development programs and a safe gathering space to reduce the risk of social isolation.
The ASSP is delivered by a partnership of four metropolitan based asylum seeker support agencies.
According to an evaluation report on the ASSP, the program has alleviated some of the key stresses associated with the application process for asylum seekers, and provided funding that empowered community organisations to deliver better-quality outcomes.
Rights and Responsibilities Seminars
As part of the Refugee Action Program (RAP), Rights and Responsibilities Seminars are delivered to refugees and asylum seekers across Victoria, with a focus on providing information on our laws, legal systems, democratic institutions and the importance of participating in multicultural Victoria as engaged citizens. Seminars are delivered in partnership with RAP providers, other government departments and agencies using a coordinated approach to minimise duplication of effort and build cultural competency and awareness.
African Leadership Program
The African Leadership Program aims to develop the leadership capacity of potential leaders across Victoria’s diverse African communities. The program delivers tailored seminars on project management, conflict resolution, team leadership, managing volunteers, financial management and governance, working with the media and professional networking.