A Tale of Two Communities: Refugee Relocation in Australia
- Year: 2007
- Author: Broadbent, Robyn; Cacciattolo, Marcelle; Carpenter, Cathryn
- Journal Name: Australian Journal of Social Issues, The
- Journal Number: Vol. 42, No. 4
- Country: Australia
- State/Region: Victoria
Refugees are forced to leave their homes and countries to start anew in a different place. This paper outlines the key challenges and issues facing those Australian regional communities focussing on refugee relocation projects as a labour and population renewal strategy. This discussion arises from a two year evaluation project which examined two refugee relocation projects in the communities of Swan Hill and Warrnambool situated in different regional areas of Victoria, Australia. The project was supported with funds from VicHealth, a statutory body funded by the Victorian State Government with a particular focus on groups in society who are likely to be at greater risk. Refugee communities have a higher risk of mental health problems and higher rates of unemployment and as such, the importance of relocation programs is commensurate with the opportunity and risk they present. Governments, communities and service providers all need to acknowledge the potential benefits refugee relocation programs may bring as well as recognising that the consequences of failure can be ominous for all concerned.