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Opposition's comments on settlement services review ill-informed.



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Gary Hardgrave MP   Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs 

  Media Release H77/2002 - 8 August 2002

 

Opposition's Comments on Settlement Services Review Ill-Informed

The Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Gary Hardgrave says the Shadow Minister for Population and Immigration, Julia Gillard, is showing by her comments that she is ill-informed and out of touch regarding settlement services in Australia.

Mr Hardgrave said he had made himself available to brief the opposition before he announced the Migrant Settlement Services Review and has written directly to over 900 organisations and interested parties to alert them to the review and the mechanisms through which they can make input.

"Mr Laurie Ferguson is well aware of the Review and I repeat my offer of a briefing. It is unfortunate Ms Gillard did not apparently talk to him before putting out her press release" Mr Hardgrave said.

"The Review has been well anticipated and Ms Gillard's comments underline how out of touch the Labor Party is".

"Ms Gillard needs to make a decision - is she committed to delivering the best possible services for migrants settling in Australia or is she simply opposing for opposition's sake?

Some of the organisations contacted included the currently funded Community Settlement Services Scheme (CSSS), Migrant Resource Centres (MRCs) and Migrant Service Agencies (MSAs).

The review will acknowledge the place of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) in the range of DIMIA's settlement services.

New analysis under the review will focus on MRAs, MSAs, CSSS and the Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy (IHSS). Information from the previously announced IHSS evaluation will also feed into the review.

"The process for conducting the review will be open, transparent and consultative," Mr Hardgrave said.

A discussion paper will be made available on the DIMIA website at www.immi.gov.au by mid-September and all interested parties will have the opportunity to make written submissions until the end of October.

"I consider community input into the review to be essential, and as such, will be holding a series of community consultations during the review process.

"Migrant Resource Centres currently funded until 31 December 2002 have been fully informed of the aspects of their operations or performance that are of concern. These concerns must be addressed regardless of the review, and DIMIA will continue to work bilaterally with these individual organisations to achieve this," Mr Hardgrave said.

The current AMEP tender process and CSSS grants application process will not be affected by the review.

8 August 2002

Media contact: Amanda Lynch 0419 123 862

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