Dr Olivia Dun, Dr Natascha Klocker (University of Wollongong), Dr Paul Hodge (University of Newcastle) and Ms Eliza Crosbie (University of Newcastle) are undertaking research that seeks to better understand the settlement experiences, motivations and aspirations of humanitarian migrants who wish to relocate to rural and regional Australia.
Most humanitarian migrants to Australia are initially resettled from other countries (often via refugee camps) directly to Australia’s capital cities. The research team, led by Dr Klocker, is working with the Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International (GLAPDI) whose work with former refugees from the Great Lakes Region of Africa (Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Kenya) has shown that many former refugees who have been resettled in capital cities desire to live in rural/regional areas of Australia and to engage in farming activities.
In particular, the research team have been evaluating the Great South Coast Economic Migration Project (GSCEMP) [pdf] which was established by the Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International (GLAPDI), Leadership Great South Coast (LGSC) and iGen Foundation Ltd in 2016. GSCEMP is a facilitated secondary settlement project that supports the relocation of migrant families (primarily, but not limited to, former refugees), who currently live in Australian cities, to the Great South Coast region of Victoria. The project focuses on the importance of supporting the migrants to obtain jobs, housing and land in their new home towns. It is underpinned by an intercultural approach that prioritises building meaningful relationships and interaction between relocating families and existing members of the destination communities. The evaluation will capture key learnings to inform the GSCEMP implementing partners as well as contribute towards gathering a solid evidence-base to inform government settlement policy pertaining to humanitarian migrants in regional Australia.
A family relocated under GSCEMP with GSCEMP project manager, the Mayor of Hamilton and a local landowner who has donated land for relocated families to farm on. Photo credit: The Hamilton Spectator.
Families scoping out whether they would like to relocate to rural towns in the Southern Grampians and Glenelg shires of Victoria on a Welcome Weekend organised by GSCEMP.
Photo credit: Amanda Hennessy, LGSC.