SENATOR THE HON KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
ANDREW GILES MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIES AND URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
MEMBER FOR SCULLIN
MORRISON GOVERNMENT FINALLY RELEASES SHERGOLD REVIEW INTO REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT
After refusing multiple Freedom of Information requests and media queries, the Morrison Government has finally released the Shergold Review into refugee and humanitarian resettlement close to a year after it was commissioned by the Prime Minister himself.
Labor welcomes the release of this important report – paid for by the Australian taxpayer – which aims to improve the integration, employment and settlement outcomes of refugees in this country. Labor will carefully consider its findings.
It beggars believe Scott Morrison has kept it secret for this long. In fact, he and Immigration Minister David Coleman have been sitting on the review by respected former bureaucrat Peter Shergold since they received it in February, almost 10 months ago.
The report raises concerns about the third term Liberal National Government’s “coordination failure” of refugee settlement services which “needs to be remedied as a matter of urgency” and the failure in helping refugees find meaningful work.
“The failure to ensure speedy labour market integration has not only had a profoundly detrimental impact on refugees, but imposes significant costs on Australia.” – report page 34.
“The present jobactive system is simply not delivering the outcomes for refugees that it should… Unfortunately, too many refugees find themselves trapped in employment which offers no chance to use their experience and develop their capabilities.” – report page 35.
“Too often refugees find themselves placed in the ‘too hard’ basket. Everybody loses.” – report page 35.
Refugees have too often lived incredibly painful and dangerous lives, and when they settle in Australia we should be doing everything we can to help people get the support they need, find work and integrate into the community.
Regional communities have always strived to go above and beyond in welcoming refugees and Labor welcomes any steps to encourage at resettlement in the regions.
But any resettlement targets from the Morrison Government are meaningless in the absence of proper support services – including funding.
Whilst Labor has been listening closely to newly-arrived refugees, advocates, settlement service providers and employers about these challenges, the Morrison Government and Immigration Minister David Coleman have been hiding from their responsibilities.
Under the third term Liberal National Government, migrants and refugees have been denied the opportunity to fulfil their full potential including:
• 60 per cent of migrants from non-English speaking backgrounds working in jobs that don’t match their skill levels at an estimated cost of $6 billion a year;
• research showing proper social inclusion of migrants could boost the Australian economy by $12.7 billion; and
• concerning research about the prevalence of racism – such as 82 per cent of Asian Australians having experienced discrimination and one in five African students being threatened by another student.
Scott Morrison has already failed the Australian community – including our newest Australians – for refusing to release this important and credible report for so long.
It’s now time this third term Liberal National Government to ensure the recommendations made in the report are implemented as quickly as possible to make up for the time wasted by Scott Morrison.