New settlement standards point the way
A set of new national standards for improving the settlement outcomes of new arrivals to Australia was launched at this year’s Settlement Council of Australia Conference.
The proposed National Settlement Outcomes Standards will guide settlement services across the nation and facilitate consistency in ensuring migrant communities effectively settle and integrate into Australian society.
The Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) has spent the last decade collaborating with settlement organisations and experts to ensure the standards promote the existing continuous improvement culture within the settlement sector.
Cath Scarth, CEO of migrant settlement agency AMES Australia launched the standards at the triennial three day SCOA Conference earlier this month to settlement sector members from across the globe.
At the launch Cath outlined how the standards will provide a reference point for organisations to use in periodic reflection and review on service delivery.
“They effectively provide a blueprint for quality settlement services and show the way forward towards the most effective settlement outcomes,” Cath told the SCOA conference.
The nine key areas of successful outcomes are education and training, employment, health and wellbeing, housing, language services, transport, civic participation, family and social support, justice.
“All of these things are crucial to settlement outcomes and each of the areas the standards prescribe indicators that show how well settlement services are operating and the impact they are having,” Cath said.
During her address Cath recognised the importance of improving settlement services for the prosperity of the country.
“Australia’s prosperity and success in maintaining social cohesion is inextricably linked with successful migration and settlement policies and programs,” she said.
At the conference Cath spoke with SBS about how vital events such as the SCOA conference are for communication between those involved in the settlement sector to ensure improvements are constantly taking place.
“I think that the main expectation of the conference is that it’s an opportunity for practitioners and policy makers to get together to spend time away from the business of the day to day to reflect on our success and what works,” Cath told SBS.
“Reflect on those things that we can improve on and together, design what settlement services might look like in the future.”
Cath also told the conference it was important to recognise the value of new arrivals to Australia’s economy due to their wealth of experience and skills.
“Migrants and refugees come with incredible experience, expertise, resilience and aspirations,” Cath said.
“All we have to do really is walk with them for a little while, tap into that, connect them with the broader community and off they go.
“The challenge is for us to make sure that we harness what they bring, create a bridge so that we can recognise their skills and qualifications, walk with their employers so that they acknowledge the skills and expertise that people can bring from overseas, and connect them to jobs,” Cath said.
AMES Australia Staff Writer