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Inquiry explores barriers facing diaspora communities in Australia

Prime Minister Scott Morrison hands out Australian flags to members of the Sebastien Family Source: AAP

A Senate committee heard evidence about the ongoing challenges faced by diaspora communities in Australia including submissions referencing support mechanisms offered to diaspora community associations and safety concerns among diaspora communities.

The committee heard that racism, discrimination, employment limitations, barriers to accessing to essential services and a lack of culturally tailored support services continue to exist across Australia.

The inquiry heard that there are limited avenues for diaspora communities to access federal government funding, and urged policy reforms for diaspora engagement, collaboration and strategy implementation.

Chief Executive Officer at Diaspora Action Australia Denise Goldfinch told the inquiry a trust needs to be established to enable better cooperation. 

"The Australian government must first establish genuine and sustainable partnerships with diaspora communities. To more effectively advance diaspora collaboration, government should first focus on investing in existing civil society partnerships. Secondly investment should be directed to testing new diaspora collaboration models and directly resourcing diaspora communities through co-designed funding streams. Harnessing the unique value of diaspora is impossible to achieve without developing an enabling environment shaped by comprehensive diaspora policy and policy investment model. While policy for engagement with civil society and refugee communities do exist across various federal government departments - there is a notable absence of diaspora policy."

Chair of the Committee, Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz, highlighted the importance of speaking the English language

"From my observations, the importance of English language skills are vital because, regrettably there is a degree of exploitation of new arrivals and diaspora communities often by their own countrymen who rely on their fellow countrymen not having sufficient language skills, for example to ring the fair work ombudsman or understand minimum wage and other condition might be."

To hear the full report click on the audio link above.

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