Today the Government has announced new funding of $27.1 million over two years for a tailored Afghan settlement support package, to help recent evacuees from Afghanistan settle successfully into their new lives in Australia.
The Afghan settlement support package is informed by advice from the Government’s Advisory Panel on Australia’s Resettlement of Afghan Nationals. The Panel continues to play a critical role in advising the Government on its Afghan settlement response, and I am grateful for the advice this panel continues to provide.
This funding recognises Australia’s long involvement in, and commitment to, Afghanistan and its people, and the unique challenges and needs of those rescued from Kabul. It will provide effective support and care for new arrivals and set them up for successful settlement into the Australian community.
Support to community organisations
Afghan-Australian community organisations are already doing critical work to welcome and support new arrivals. The Government is committing $8.0 million over two years to further strengthen the capacity of these and other community and grass roots organisations to continue to play a critical role in supporting the evacuees to begin their lives in Australia.
Supporting evacuees onto a permanent pathway
$6.4 million has been committed to support those evacuees on subclass 449 Temporary Humanitarian Stay visas to transition to permanent visas. This funding will boost the capacity of specialist legal services to support evacuees to transition from these emergency, temporary visas to permanent visas. This funding will be distributed based on the settlement patterns of the evacuee cohort.
Early intervention to enable fast economic participation
$4.8 million has been committed to help new arrivals navigate skills recognition and education pathways to quickly secure a suitable entry into the Australian labour market.
Many Afghan arrivals are highly skilled professionals with strong English language skills, including many with experience working as Locally Engaged Employees with the Australian Defence Force. We know they are highly motivated to gain employment so they can begin to build a life for themselves and their families in Australia.
Mental Health Support to Afghan Refugees and Communities
$7.9 million has been committed to the Program of Assistance for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (PASTT) to support evacuees and the Afghan community in accessing targeted mental health support.
Australia has a proud history of helping those most in need, and there has been an outpouring of community support for this cohort of new arrivals.
These additional services will help drive best possible outcomes for new Afghan arrivals and the broader Australian community. They respond to needs raised with me by the Advisory Panel on Australia’s Resettlement of Afghan Nationals and the extensive community engagement and consultations undertaken with the Afghan-Australian community, the settlement sector, and State and Territory governments. This additional investment both addresses the unique needs of the Afghan evacuees and ensures that existing services retain their capacity to provide settlement support to others who come to Australia under our Humanitarian Program.