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Refugee & Asylum Seeker Young People

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The Youth Coalition asked parties and independent candidates about their policies on refugee and asylum seeker young people. We asked:
- How will you improve services and support to young people from migrant, refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds in the ACT?

The full responses we received from parties and independent candidates are below. 
Click here to download the short snapshot of their policies on refugee and asylum seeker young people.

ACT Greens

The Greens pay tribute to the dedicated services and community groups working with refugee and asylum seeker young people across Canberra - and we believe more could be done to fund and support their work.
Many people settling in Canberra need help accessing employment, education, housing and mental health services. The groups and organisations they turn to for help are often stretched, with huge case loads and small budgets. The Greens will work to ensure that all of these services are properly funded.
We also believe that the ACT could be more active in lobbying the federal government on the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. We want to see the refugee intake increased, visa conditions improved to allow new refugees and asylum seekers to work and fully participate in society, and an end to the cruel and inhumane offshore detention regime.

ACT Labor

Canberra has a strong history of valuing and promoting our cultural communities. We’re lucky to have such a vibrant multicultural city – you have probably experienced a taste of this at the annual Multicultural Festival, which is one of Canberra’s best attended events.

Almost a quarter of Canberrans were born overseas, and today we have residents from over 200 different nationalities. We’re proud to celebrate our diversity while offering assistance to those from different backgrounds in times of need. Over the past 5 years, we have funded around 3000 projects through our multicultural grants programs to support local community groups help build our inclusive society.

Last year the ACT became the first Australian jurisdiction to declare a Refugee Welcome zone. This builds on our other initiatives to support refugees and asylum seekers, such as the ACT Services Access Card which makes access to entitlements for refugees and asylum seekers a lot easier.

As a Refugee Welcome zone we actively:

  • highlight the great work of local community groups and individuals that support refugees and asylum seekers;
  • take a stand against racism and discrimination;
  • actively advocate for refugees and asylum seekers, and take a strong and supportive approach to refugee settlement.

Canberra Liberals

The Canberra Liberals inherently understand the challenges faced by young people from different backgrounds and cultures. Being a young person who is a migrant, a refugee or even an asylum seeker, comes with its own set of unique challenges and the Canberra Liberals are committed to making life easier for people in these circumstances. We’d endeavor to listen and work cooperatively with community groups and organisations like the Youth Coalition to make sure young people from disadvantaged backgrounds have the support they need to live well in the Canberra community. The ACT has a proud legacy of welcoming people from different cultures and fostering their wider contribution to Canberra. Under the Canberra Liberals, that will only grow stronger. 

Independent Candidates

Joel McKay, Independent Candidate for Brindabella

Migrating, or seeking asylum as a refugee, is one the hardest life decisions a person or family can make. As a society, we must ensure that sufficient support is available to allow these people to successfully contribute to Australia.

The ACT Government must investigate whether there are sufficient services available to assist migrants and refugees. I understand that Canberra has range of organisations that provide refugee services, including: Canberra Refugee Support; Multicultural Youth Services ACT; and Companion House. However, these organisations are generally not-for-profit, non-government entities, which rely heavily on donations and volunteers to provide their services.

The ACT Government should explore the possibility of providing funding to these organisations and look to work together where possible. Additional funding would allow these organisations to refine their services and provide more specialised assistance. In conjunction with the ACT Government, the organisations could deliver language courses, and job seeker programs through the Canberra Institute of Technology.

Also, if it’s not done already, I believe the ACT Government needs to provide welcome packs to migrants and refugees. Welcome packs could contain information on what organisations and services are available in the ACT. 


The above information was provided by the parties and/or candidates listed, and authorised for publication on this website by Emma Robertson, Youth Coalition of the ACT