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More Support For Refugee Health And Wellbeing In Victoria

Refugees and people currently seeking asylum will get the health and mental health support they need to re-settle in Victoria, with an $11 million funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government.

Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, today joined Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley, at the Multicultural Hub to announce the funding in response to growing Syrian and Iraqi refugee settlement in Victoria.

The number of refugees and asylum seekers in Victoria is higher than at any time in the past three decades. This will continue to grow as we welcome more people seeking refuge from the Syrian conflict over coming years.

Victoria expects to settle up to 4,000 additional Syrian and Iraqi refugees, on top of ongoing refugee intake of at least 4,000 per year.

The funding will better support people from refugee backgrounds, as well as people seeking asylum, settle in their new home here in Victoria and improve their health and wellbeing.

The $11 million package includes:

  • Three refugee health nurses providing community health outreach services in Dallas and Sunshine
  • A paediatric specialist Refugee Health Fellow to hold regular outreach clinics in Melbourne’s north
  • A new catch-up immunisation program for children, adolescents and adults from refugee backgrounds
  • Extra language services and a new grants program for hospitals to improve access to interpreting services
  • A package of new programs to support child, youth and family refugee mental health
  • Targeted child and family services support for unaccompanied refugee children and young people.

A new CareerSeekers internship program for refugees and asylum seekers will also see four interns undertake paid three-month internships at the Department of Health and Human Services.

This program will provide opportunities for gaining Australian workplace experience and recognises the skills, qualifications and knowledge that people from refugee backgrounds bring to Victoria.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“People seeking refuge from war torn nations show immense courage and resilience – it’s only right we give them the support they need to rebuild their lives in a new, safe home.”

“We’re making sure that people who have fled torture and trauma have access to the health care and opportunities they need to re-settle in Victoria, when and where they are needed most.”

Quotes attributable Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley

“Victoria’s community and mental health services offer safe and welcoming places for refugees to share their stories, to recover and restore hope.”

“We’re proud to be supporting newly-arrived people from refugee backgrounds to access respectful and culturally responsive mental health support.”