Last week I received the findings of the Review of the Community Support Program (CSP) conducted by the Commonwealth Coordinator-General for Migrant Services, Alison Larkins.
The CSP was established by the Coalition Government in 2017 and was designed to allow individuals, groups and businesses to sponsor humanitarian entrants with employment prospects to Australia, in order to harness community support for refugees and increase the chances of successful integration and settlement outcomes.
The Government announced a commitment to undertake a review of the program in late 2019, in response to the Shergold Review, Investing in Refugees, Investing in Australia.
The review included a series of roundtable meetings convened by the Minister’s Refugee and Migrant Services Advisory Council (RAMSAC) with targeted stakeholders; a desktop evaluation of the performance of the current program and reports and submissions to Government; discussions with CSP entrants and their supporters; and engagement with international counterparts in the UK, Ireland, and Canada as well as the UNHCR.
I want to thank all of the individuals and organisations who provided input to Ms Larkins’ review, and those who have made representations to Government about community sponsorship.
It is great to see the strong interest and commitment to community sponsorship approaches within the Australian community, and the positive settlement outcomes being achieved through these channels, both through our current program and internationally.
As Minister, I am a strong supporter of the Community Support Program.
I look forward to ensuring the program becomes a genuine, successful partnership between community, business and the Government, to provide beneficial outcomes to our refugee and humanitarian arrivals in Australia.
I will now consider Ms Larkins’ findings in detail, and consider possible changes to our program which could strengthen our approach. I look forward to providing an update on my considerations in due course.