Policy changes at the crux of refugee agency’s work


At a recent state inquiry into TAFE, asylum seeker and refugee considerations were represented regarding training, education, and work in Victoria. As a voice for those often left voiceless in the policy world, the Refugee Council in Melbourne submitted an inquiry to the Senate and then followed it up with testimony on this significant issue last week.

Stressing the importance of sharing this community’s view, Louise Oliff of the Council explained the many ways which the organisation broadcasts information to work towards its aim of promoting the development of humane policies towards refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. Issues like family reunion, housing, and employment continually come up when in touch with the community and individuals.

Linking together groups who work with refugees and asylum seekers, holding community consultations, and informing the public are other important aspects of the Council’s work in the Australian context. However, the reach goes beyond just national borders. Delegations organised by the Council are sent to the UN equipped with facts and policy recommendations to inform and understand the international contexts of these issues.

A small, sparse office tucked away in the corner of an old building, the Melbourne chapter of the Council consists of just three employees, only one of whom is full time. Taking an afternoon to meet with me about the organisation, Louise and Ashur graciously walked me through their work, their passion about this area, and explained upcoming policy work, including exploration into the Racial Discrimination Act changes.

Learn how to contribute to the work at the Refugee Council and look out for Ashur’s submission on the Racial Discrimination Act here.



About brandyc

PhD Candidate, Momash University Communication & Media Strategist, Border Crossing Observatory: www.borderobservatory.org Research Assistant Post-Graduate Representative, Sustainable Transport Committee Blog: http://profiles.arts.monash.edu.au/brandy-cochrane/ Twitter: @brandy_cochrane