Welcome to the first edition of the MYAN Australia E-Newsletter - a quarterly bulletin presenting multicultural youth issues with a national lens.
Each edition will include updates from the states and territories, alongside a comprehensive round-up of nationally significant project, policy and research information.
National Community Detention Training
The MYAN has recently been engaged by the Australian Red Cross (ARC) to develop and deliver national training focusing on working with young people in community detention. This training will target caseworkers, residential carers, and ARC staff working with young people in the Community Detention program. Delivery is planned for early 2012 and will build on other training currently taking place nationally.
The recent FECCA Conference provided an opportunity to promote the work of the MYAN to conference delegates from across the country, highlighting the importance of a targeted, youth-specific approach to policy and program delivery. Being in Adelaide, it was also an opportunity to provide a snapshot of the work of Multicultural Youth South Australia (MYSA), MYAN’s South Australian partner.
A pre-conference workshop convened by the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (ARACY) and the Australian Research Alliance on Children and Youth (ARACY) at the Youth Health Conference 2011 focused on measuring outcomes in the youth sector to improve wellbeing. The MYAN presentation highlighted some of the challenges associated with measuring outcomes in service delivery with refugee and newly arrived young people, with a focus on early intervention in the homelessness sector, and introduced the work of the Young African Men’s Program in Brimbank, Melbourne.
At the recent AGM of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) the MYAN was elected onto AYAC’s Policy Advisory Council (PAC) for a further 2 years. The MYAN has been Chair of the PAC for the last 12 months, and works closely with AYAC to promote the needs and issues for multicultural young people in the broader youth sector. The PAC ensures that policy positions taken by AYAC are reflective of the needs and current trends of young people and the youth sector.
UNHCR Annual Consultation and Roundtable
The MYAN was represented at these annual consultations held in Canberra in October. A broad range of advocates and practitioners from across Australia were brought together to raise issues in relation to refugee and asylum policy and practice. Sessions focused on Regional Cooperation, Asylum and Legal Issues and Resettlement/Settlement and Working Groups considered emerging issues in the areas of Detention/Alternatives to Detention, Refugee Status Determination, and Resettlement. Day 2 focused on Advocacy, Media and Public Perceptions.
Youth issues were highlighted particularly in relation to current guardianship arrangements of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Minors (UAMs) and Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors and (UHMs), and, for UHMs, the challenges associated with family sponsorship.
Refugee Youth Support National Pilot
A national Refugee Youth Support Pilot will be conducted in three states by, CMY (Victoria), Multicultural Youth South Australia and Multicultural Development Association (Queensland). These agencies have been asked by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to scope and establish a pilot project that will test a new approach to the settlement of 16 and 17 year old unaccompanied humanitarian minors (UHMs). This approach will recognise the ability of many of these clients to transition to living independently and aim to strengthen their ability to manage their lives effectively in the Australian community. The pilot is likely to include providing youth-focused settlement services and housing in more creative ways designed to deliver these outcomes.
It is anticipated that the 12 month pilot will begin in early 2012. Read the Immigration Minister’s speech that mentions the pilot here.
Expansion of bridging visas for asylum seekers
The MYAN welcomes the Federal Government’s recent announcement that following initial health, security and identity checks, eligible boat arrivals who do not pose risks will be progressively considered for community placement on bridging visas while their asylum claims are assessed.
MYAN NSW has run several sector development forums over the last few months – in March on ‘Multicultural Young People and Transitions’ and more recently, in November, on ‘Multicultural young people and Intergenerational and Family Conflict’.
The November forum focused on good practice with young people and their families to resolve conflict and promote harmony and understanding. The forum was a great success with over 50 workers attending from across the community sector. The MYAN NSW is currently working on the development of a Discussion Paper exploring issues of intergenerational conflict. Presentations from all forums, as well as updates on all activities, are available here.
MYAN-NT representative Multicultural Youth NT (MyNT), along with partner organisations NTCOSS and Melaleuca Refugee Centre have been busy conducting consultations for the development of a policy paper exploring the needs of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds settling in the Top End. This document is planned for release early in 2012 and will form a valuable and much needed platform for advocacy in the future.
MyNT will be handing over the MYAN-NT representative role to highly capable hands at Melaleuca Refugee Centre. MyNT would like to thank all members of the MYAN Australia for their wonderful and tireless work supporting migrant and refugee young people. It has been a great experience to represent NT issues on a national level.
The Multicultural Development Association (MDA) hosted the first multicultural youth settlement network meeting on 23 November in Brisbane. Attended by over 20 services from across the youth, settlement, government and education sectors, the meeting provided an opportunity to discuss issues of importance for multicultural young people. Key issues emerging included: education and the challenges facing schools with changing settlement patterns and, young people negotiating belonging and identity within family and community. It is anticipated that the network will meet quarterly, with the next meeting planned for Wednesday 21 March 2012.
Following the highly successful Multicultural Youth Voices forum in March this year, the MYAN TAS has continued to promote multicultural youth issues to government, as well as across the settlement and youth sectors. MYAN TAS recently presented at a Community Voices Forum held in Hobart and is working with the sector to explore education issues for newly arrived young people.
MYSA (Multicultural Youth South Australia) - Speak Out 3
Forming part of the FECCA pre-conference activities, Speak Out 3 was a youth-led forum discussing issues of importance to multicultural youth. 49 young people aged between 12 and 24 years from Somalia, Liberia, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sudan, Rwanda, Burma, Congo and Uganda shared their ideas, issues and opinions with key national leaders - Dr Helen Szoke, Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner, Ms Gail Ker, CEO Access Settlement Services Inc. and Deputy Chair of the Australian Multicultural Council, Mr Pino Migliorino, Chairman of FECCA, and Mr Cedric Manen, Chairman of the Settlement Council of Australia. Key issues raised included education and training, sport and recreation, and racism. A full report will be available in early January 2012 from the MYSA website.
Multicultural Youth in Focus
Mohammad Al-Khafaji is a 22 year old Iraqi with a passion and commitment to empower the lives of others. Settling in Australia in 2002, Mohammed is an active member of the Iraqi community, working with and participating in a range of government and non-government projects. These include: MYSA’s Youth Ambassador’s Program, an advocate for the Oak Tree Foundation, numerous consultations on human rights issues and chair for the Minister’s Youth Council. Mohammed was acknowledged at MYSA’s recent World Human Rights Day Honour Roll, along with Genevieve Adzanku, Ghanaian youth leader. Mohammad is pictured centre below left, with other winners and community representatives including, the Hon Jing Lee MLC. Genevieve is pictured right, with MYSA’s Director Ms. Carmen Garcia and Hon Jing Lee MLC.
Other National News
2011 Young People’s Human Rights Medal - Tshibanda Gracia Ngoy
Congratulations to Tshibanda Gracia Ngoy, winner of this year’s Australian Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights Medal. Gracia is a 19 year old Congolese-born Australian who arrived under the Humanitarian Visas Program in July 2005. She is a passionate advocate for young people form newly and refugee backgrounds. Read more here.
High Court ruling and SHP for unaccompanied minors
The High Court’s decision of 14th December ruled that it was not a requirement of the granting of a visa under the Special Humanitarian Program, that the sponsor be under 18 at either the time of submission or decision. Read more here.
Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) Update
The RCOA has recently completed consultations on Australia’s Refugee and Humanitarian Program as part of its annual submission to the Federal Government. Based on RCOA’s Discussion Paper, over 40 consultations were held in every state and territory, seeking the views of community members and service providers on a range of refugee and asylum seeker issues. The consultations explored the following issues in relation to young people:
The treatment and guardianship of unaccompanied minors (UAMs) and unaccompanied humanitarian minors (UHMs).
The lack of a national refugee education strategy to guide adequate funding allocations for students from refugee or humanitarian backgrounds under the National Education Agreement.
The HSS program and its new youth focus.
A report containing recommendations is currently being finalised and will be presented to the Federal Government this month. Details about the intake submission can be found here.
Settlement Council of Australia (SCOA) Update
SCOA has recently been engaged in national consultations on the development of Settlement Service Standards, including an online survey and presentation at the FECCA Conference. Initial feedback confirms the importance of developing standards that are meaningful to settlement work, reflecting good practice, rather than resulting in a set of ‘tick boxes’ for completion. The Victorian consultation highlighted a number of youth issues, including the need to provide services which are appropriate to the life situation and responsibilities of young people, and build on their strengths and capacity. Results of the survey and consultations on the Settlement Service Standards will be released in the new year.
The housing experiences of young people from refugee or newly arrived backgrounds were also raised in the November Settlement Policy Network, convened jointly by SCOA and RCOA. A policy paper capturing emerging issues is currently being finalized.
AYAC and the National Children’s Commissioner
FACHSIA and the Attorney General’s department have recently released a discussion paper to further clarify and seek consensus about the role, functions and purpose of a National Children's Commissioner. This paper seeks to refine the views of organisations that have already expressed support for a children’s commissioner. The MYAN was one of many organisations that submitted a response to the Bill for a National Children’s Commissioner in February this year.
In September this year, AYAC partnered with the Australian Human Rights Commission to convene a Roundtable with leading NGO's, including the MYAN, to achieve consensus on a number of principles and develop a set of recommendations for Government. A smaller taskforce is currently in the process of drafting and collaborating endorsements on a document of position, and preparing a response to the FaHCSIA/Attorney General’s paper.
AYAC invites youth led organisations to apply for one of six one-off grants of up to $2500 for projects, events, activities and programs that broaden their involvement of engaged young people. Applications close Friday, 20 January 2012. Read more.
Policy and Resources
MYAN Policy Briefing Paper
This recently revised paper provides an overview of the MYAN’s current policy priorities, developed in response to the needs and issues faced by multicultural young people across Australia. The paper will undergo a more comprehensive review after the MYAN annual meeting in early 2012. Download a copy here.
Intergenerational Conflict and Parenting
The MYAN, in partnership with the Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY), has recently finalised a brief literature review on Intergenerational Conflict among CALD Communities – in particular those from refugee backgrounds. Intergenerational conflict is one of the MYAN’s 8 policy priorities. Download a copy here.
On 6 December MYSA’s state based network, the Youth Settlement Action Network (YSAN) hosted a roundtable with Hon Kate Ellis MP, Minister for Employment Participation, to discuss concerns regarding employment issues for multicultural youth. A copy of the issues paper can be found here. Email MYSA for a copy.
Living Between Two Worlds
This recent 8-week SBS reality TV series explored the issues for second generation migrant families in Australia. An accompanying booklet was developed through a partnership between FECCA and Relationships Australia. Download a copy and watch the episodes here.
University of NSW Refugee Conference - Youth Forum Report
The Report on the 2011 Refugee Conference Youth Forum and Australia Youth Forum (AFY) Discussion Topic was launched on the 15 November 2011 in Sydney by the Centre for Refugee Research. The Youth Forum was sponsored by the MYAN Australia and the AYF and supported by the MYAN NSW. It provided important opportunities for young people from refugee and non-refugee backgrounds to have their say about refugee youth issues in Australia and internationally. Download a copy from the MYAN website.