Government responsibility for the settlement of newly arrived refugees and migrants in Australia is shared between the federal, state and local levels. While Australia’s settlement policies are predominantly top-down and Commonwealth driven with some state involvement, local government has the potential to play a greater role in facilitating the settlement of newly arrived migrants and refugees. A growing body of literature in Australia and overseas highlights the role of local-level policies in supporting integration and social cohesion, which is arguably even more crucial in the context of migrant and refugee settlement in regional and rural areas. This paper draws on focus groups with 90 local stakeholders in eight local government areas in Victoria to propose a typology of local government involvement that shows the variable but potentially significant role of local government in the regional and rural settlement of recent arrivals. We argue that Australia’s over 560 local governments provide crucial but underutilised governance resources for improving the settlement process. This finding has implications for settlement policies and funding, intergovernmental coordination, and the retention of migrants and refugees in regional and rural communities in Australia.
SOURCE: Boese, Martina and Phillips, Melissa. “The Role of Local Government in Migrant and Refugee Settlement in Regional and Rural Australia.” Australian Journal of Social Issues, Early View [
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