Municipal Association of Victoria's Refugee Intake Planning

The MAV has attended a senior level Victorian Government meeting regarding the intake of Syrian and Iraqi refugees. The State Office of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship (OMAC) is negotiating with the Federal Government about where and how many refugees will be settled, and what support they will provide. It is likely that Victoria will take 4,000 people, with a Government aim to process 500 people a week, and 200 identified for urgent resettlement.

Prioritisation is being given to children, women and families. We anticipate the arrival of many female-headed households, children aged 0-4 years and unaccompanied minors.  These refugees will have experienced very recent trauma, grief and loss, and many will have professional skills, qualifications and English language proficiency. It is likely that adolescents will face additional challenges and will be a target group for support.

The Government is establishing working groups, such as one on mental health and wellbeing. The MAV is focusing on the capacity of councils and service providers to support refugees, in particular the delivery of early childhood services, and have asked that formal funding arrangements be agreed for extra places required in kindergartens and Maternal and Child Health to support families.

Several councils have approached the MAV expressing interest in assisting these refugees. Planning discussions have included the need to harness the goodwill being expressed by councils, and the MAV will provide further information as it becomes available.

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