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14 Dec 2017


SSI gets to work resettling refugees in regional NSW

(L-R) SSI HSP Regional Coordinator Helen Larkin, SSI Government and Member Relations Manager Esta Paschalidis-Chilas, SSI HSP Manager Yamamah Agha, Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker MP, and SSI COO Stephen O’Neill.

The federal government recently selected SSI as the regional NSW provider of the new Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP), which supports refugees from the moment they arrive at the airport until they are established in the community.

SSI will expand operations to support its work in regional areas, including in Coffs Harbour, where Federal Member for Cowper Luke Hartsuyker MP launched the new SSI office on Friday December 1.

SSI HSP Manager, Yamamah Agha, said the organisation was committed to partnering with the local community and services to support refugees through the early days of life in Australia.

“At SSI, we recognise the critical role the community plays in successful settlement. Community members help new arrivals to feel welcome in Australia and to build the sense of belonging that becomes a foundation for their new lives here,” she said.

“Community support can take many forms. It might be volunteering, offering a friendly smile at the supermarket or holding an event to welcome new arrivals. Only by working in partnership can we hope to support refugees to reach their full potential in Australia.”

An SSI refugee settlement team is now also set up in Newcastle, and next year, SSI will launch an Armidale office to cater for the newly announced settlement hub in the regional city.

Ms Agha said settling refugees in regional areas had dual benefits for both refugees and the communities welcoming them.

“New arrivals make important cultural and social contributions, such as reviving regional schools and countering population decline,” she said.

“Refugee resettlement also has economic benefits. With the population growth, comes an increased need for teachers, doctors and other services to support an expanding community. In the Victorian town of Nhill, for example, the net monetary gain of resettling 160 refugees over a five-year period exceeded $41 million.”

Click hereClick here for contact details for SSI’s new regional offices.

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