03 May 2023Media releases
Additional investment to support refugees in Fairfield
One of Australia’s largest refugee resettlement providers has answered calls for additional investment in the Fairfield LGA, investing new resources in the area with the launch of a new local location.
Settlement Services International (SSI) provides support to around 20,000 refugees every year, a large portion of which reside in western Sydney. Since 2011, SSI has serviced the Fairfield area, initially from a local migrant resource centre, CORE Community Services, and then from its own neighbouring Liverpool office, but is now upping that investment with a dedicated office space.
SSI CEO Violet Roumeliotis said Fairfield had a long history of welcoming new arrivals and the suburb exemplified the success of Australia’s world-leading approach to settlement.
“This rich, multicultural suburb shows that it is both possible for newcomers to build a sense of belonging in their new homes, while also remaining connected to culture, family and friends,” she said.
“The beauty of Australia’s approach to refugee resettlement is that newcomers can choose to live close to family, friends and their diaspora community on arrival. This agency sets Australia apart from other nations that approach settlement as a one-sided integration process, rather than a period of mutual adaptation and benefit.”
Ms Roumeliotis acknowledged the Fairfield has not been exempt from the challenges that come with population growth in any area, but commended the incoming NSW Labor Government for funding commitments including upgrading Fairfield hospital and establishing a dedicated support centre for domestic and family violence in the suburb.
“It has also been heartening to see so many leaders and community members acknowledge that the teething pain of flexing up infrastructure and community support does not outweigh the benefit of ensuring that people retain some agency during a period of forced displacement, where very little else remains within their control,” she said.
“We can see the amazing social cohesion that has flourished in Fairfield as a result. It is an incredible success story that speaks to the strength of our settlement system, the welcoming nature of Australians, and the social cohesion that thrives when all arms of society work together to ensure newcomers have the opportunity to realise their full potential.”
More than 45 SSI staff will reside in the new office space and, in addition to refugee resettlement, they will provide critical human services to single parents, people with disability, refugees, and people seeking asylum to help them reach their full potential.
“Settlement requires a whole eco-system of support. In Fairfield, we already have strong partnerships with ethno-specific and religious groups, along with community organisations like CORE Community Services and local government services,” said Ms Roumeliotis.
“We are looking forward to strengthening these partnerships and investing more resources to ensure that all members of the Fairfield community have the opportunity to realise their full potential.”
Hannah Gartrell, Head of Executive Communications and Media
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