Settlement Services International (SSI) is proud to support Sydney communities by delivering essential programs and services alongside our partner organisations, with the ultimate goal of fostering independence amongst refugees, migrants and people seeking asylum, and enabling a prosperous and harmonious civil society.
Australia can count itself amongst the most successful examples of multiculturalism in the world with 28% of Australians born overseas, who over generations have brought with them their traditions and cultures to enrich our society.
The economic contribution of migrants and refugees has been well documented by leading economists to be invaluable. Our own experience and research shows an exceptional proportion of new arrivals into Australia who are provided with proper guidance and mentoring from organisations such as SSI, go on to start successful business ventures of their own.
An amazing example of this entrepreneurship is the recently opened ‘Four Brave Women’ café in Summer Hill, where former refugees Zahra Armian & Adiam Tefera have created a business which explores culture and cuisine through an eight week cycling menu, where refugee of different nationalities are welcomed to showcase their traditional foods while building experience in operating a sustainable business in Australia.
The Productivity Commission report released in 2016 outlined that the economic contribution of migrants was critical and contributed to Australia avoiding a recession in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. It also confirmed that the contribution of migrant workers is forecast to increase Australia’s GDP by 7% by 2060.
“Cultural diversity is an asset which sparks innovation and creativity, and contributes to the economic and social prosperity of all Australians,” said SSI CEO, Violet Roumeliotis.
Settling in a new part of the world has no common formula, but in countless examples throughout history there have been pockets in which migrant communities initially gathered for mutual support and familiarity. Over time, as confidence and independence grow, these communities are able to move on and spread out to seek new homes and prospects to build a successful future.
“While we may face challenges in the short term, the long term prospects of migration, multiculturalism and cultural diversity will allow Australia to continue to develop and nurture its global community,” said Ms. Roumeliotis.
The Big Australia National Compact on Permanent Migration, signed by multiple organisations such as the Migration Council of Australia and the Australian Council of Social Services at the beginning of May this year, highlighted the importance of civic inclusion for those who had arrived in Australia to work and contribute socially, economically and politically.
Refugees and migrants currently arriving in areas of Western Sydney, such as Fairfield, reflect the trend of initial settlement in seeking a familiar and supportive community. While this does justify a need for increased infrastructure and services, SSI has already seen the total percentage of Iraqi and Syrian refugees settling in Fairfield under the Humanitarian Settlement Program drop from 55% in 2017 to 45% in 2018.