victorian refugee health network

~ September 2016 e-Bulletin ~

                      Click on the links to the right to scroll down =>



Photo: Hon Jill Hennessy, Victorian Minister for Health

New funding for refugee and asylum seeker health and wellbeing in Victoria

The Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy and Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley yesterday announced $11 million in funding for health and mental health services to support the resettlement of people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum in Victoria.


Victoria expects to settle up to 4,000 additional people escaping conflicts in Syria and Iraq refugees, in addition to the ongoing refugee intake of at least 4,000 people per year.


The $11 million package includes:

  • Three refugee health nurses providing community health outreach in settlement services in Dallas and Sunshine
  • A paediatric specialist Refugee Health Fellow to hold regular outreach clinics in Melbourne’s north
  • A new catch-up immunisation program for children, adolescents and adults from refugee backgrounds
  • Extra language services and a new grants program for hospitals to improve access to interpreting services
  • A package of new programs to support child, youth and family refugee mental health
  • Targeted child and family services support for unaccompanied refugee minors.

A new CareerSeekers internship program for refugees and asylum seekers will also see four interns undertake paid three-month internships at the Department of Health and Human Services.


Please find fact sheets for the 2016-17 Budget initiative and the new CareerSeeker internship program HERE. A Media Release is available HERE and a short video is available HERE.


The Victorian Refugee Health Network was thrilled to attend the launch and congratulates the Victorian Government on its commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum in Victoria.

Expanded access to training for people seeking asylum and people on temporary visas

The Victorian Government is expanding support for people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum in Victoria to access training. Over the next two years, $15 million will be spent to open up the Asylum Seeker VET Program to 3000 asylum seekers and for refugees with temporary protection visas.  The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) will refer asylum seekers and eligible refugees to do their training at Victorian TAFEs, private training providers and through the Learn Local network.  Click HERE to read more.

Foundation House statement regarding people transferred by Australia to Papua New Guinea & Nauru

The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (Foundation House) has urged the Australian Government to take action to relieve the plight of people seeking asylum who have been transferred to Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Click HERE to read the statement.


Free Refugee Health In-Sessions for General Practices in the North West Melbourne Metropolitan region
North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network has commissioned five refugee health experts to provide onsite education and clinical support to general practitioners, primary health care nurses and practice teams in their region. Read more HERE and register your interest HERE


Towards TB Elimination: understanding and addressing barriers to tuberculosis testing and treatment among high-risk communities in Victoria

The Victorian Tuberculosis Program is developing tailored resources to optimise TB testing and treatment for people who identify as Vietnamese or from the Horn of Africa. Please contact Krista Watts, senior social worker with the Victorian Tuberculosis Program, to discuss your participation if:

  • 25% or more of your patient populationidentify as Vietnamese or from the Horn of Africa OR
  • if you practice primarily in the local government areas of Greater Dandenong, Brimbank or Maribyrnong and more than 50% of your patient population identifies as being culturally and linguistically diverse.

Krista Watts can be contacted on 03 9342 9476 or by email



New Diversability research project in Barwon 

Diversability is the disability service at Diversitat, the main settlement service provider in the Barwon Region. Diversability received a grant from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for a six month research project that aims to improve access to the scheme for people with a disability who are identified as having significant barriers, and where the service system has not adequately provided the required resources. The grant recognises Diversitat’s success in linking people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, primarily new arrivals from a refugee background, to the NDIS.

Diversability has been providing disability services in the Barwon NDIS trial site since 2013, and assists participants to develop their capacity and become more involved in their community, connects them with service providers, and coordinates the services in their plan.
Diversability staff regularly share information through speaking engagements and provide recommendations to the NDIS and service providers to ensure that the needs of individuals and families of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are properly considered in disability services and support.
Findings from the project will be shared in the eBulletin when available.
You can access Diversability’s Disability Findings Report HERE


A needs analysis of catch-up immunisation in refugee-background and asylum seeker communities in Victoria
Victorian Refugee Health Network

This report examines catch-up immunisation for people of refugee background including people seeking asylum in Victoria, and explores effective models of service delivery to complete catch-up vaccinations. This analysis is based on a premise of equity – that refugee background Victorians should be immunised equivalent to an Australian-born person of the same age. Read the report HERE


Immunisation summary update

Victorian Refugee Health Network
This summary update details progress on the recommendations from the 2014 needs analysis, A needs analysis of catch-up immunisation in refugee-background and asylum seeker communities in Victoria; including recommendations either partially or fully achieved, and those that are still outstanding. Read the summary update HERE


Multilingual resources – Information in your language
Down Syndrome Victoria

Down Syndrome Victoria have produced multilingual resources to support families and will also arrange an interpreter if required. Access the resources HERE

Not there yet: An investigation into the access and participation of students from humanitarian refugee backgrounds in the Australian higher education system
Melbourne Refugee Studies Program and Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education
This research highlights that some universities have been active in creating pathways to be inclusive of refugee background students. Read the report HERE


Academics for Refugees policy paper: a just and humane approach for refugees
Academics for Refugees

This policy paper recommends that Australia end offshore processing, boat turnbacks and the mandatory detention of people seeking asylum. Read the paper HERE

Delivery of health services in onshore immigration detention
Australian National Audit Office

The objective of this audit was to assess the effectiveness of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s administration of health services in onshore immigration detention. Read the report HERE

Inclusive Organisations: A guide to good practice strategies for engaging young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds in services and programs
Centre for Multicultural Youth

Inclusive Organisations provides a framework that organisations can utilise to improve their engagement with young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds and enhance good practice across their services and programs. Access the guide HERE

Victorian Hepatitis B Strategy 2016-2020
Victorian Department of Health and Human Services

The Victorian Hepatitis B Strategy 2016-2020 identifies people from a refugee background and people seeking asylum as a priority group due as they may be unvaccinated. Read the Strategy HERE


Migrant intake into Australia: inquiry report
Productivity Commission

This report presents an assessment of the benefits and costs of temporary and permanent immigration. Read the report HERE


Humanitarian Settlement Statistics 
AMES Australia

AMES Australia produces new arrivals statistics on a quarterly and annual basis that are analysed according to cultural background, family composition and long term settlement area. Quarterly statistics are distributed via email to subscribers. Click HERE to subscribe.


Are you on a treatment order?
Victoria Legal Aid
This guide provides information about what a compulsory treatment order is, how orders are made and getting free legal help. The resource is available in several languages including Persian, Dari and Arabic. Click HERE to access the resource.

Forced Marriage: A Good Practice Guide
Centre for Multicultural Youth

This Good Practice Guide provides an introduction to the issue of forced marriage and essential information to assist front-line workers to respond effectively to a young person at risk. Read the guide HERE


Pathways to protection: A human rights-based response to the flight of asylum seekers by sea
Australian Human Rights Commission

The Commission has identified options for responding to flight by sea which are consistent with Australia’s international human rights obligations. Read the report HERE


Asylum Seeker Policies
United Nations Association of Australia
and Deakin University School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This seminar brings together academic and community experts in constructive dialogue about positive human rights change with respect to policies affecting people seeking asylum.
Date: Wednesday 28 September 2016
Time: 3.30pm for a 4.00pm start – 5.30pm
Venue: Deakin University City Centre, Level 3 550 Bourke St Melbourne
Registrations: HERE


Supporting refugees arriving from Syria - webinar

Foundation House

With the increase of arrivals of people escaping Syria, this online webinar will consider some of the factors to consider when working with these clients. It will look at the psychosocial impact of prolonged, recent and continuing war trauma on new arrivals and discuss ways to best engage with and support these communities.

Date: 13 October 2016

Time: 2.00pm - 3.30pm

Cost: FREE

Register: HERE


2016 Annual Scientific Meeting: Custodial and Refugee Health
Australasian College of Legal Medicine

This meeting will explore the legal, medical and ethical dimensions of treating patients in a prison, detention and hospital setting and the challenges that are commonly present in these situations.
Date: 15 & 16 October 2016
Venue: RACV City Club, Melbourne
More info & register: HERE

Working with masculinity in a cross cultural context

Foundation House

This seminar will explore issues that arise around masculinity when working with males with refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. Includes self awareness and and sensitivity to conflicting values , masculinity as dynamic and changing, and relevant considerations when women & men occupy different non-traditional roles & spaces. A particular focus will be gender dynamics when working with male clients.

Date: 26 October 2016

Time: 5.00pm - 8.00pm

Venue: Foundation House BRUNSWICK 4 Gardiner Street, Brunswick

Cost: $60 (including refreshments)

More info: HERE


12th Annual National Chronic Disease Management Conference
Australian Disease Management Association

This conference is titled Person Centred Healthcare: Achievements & Challenges and will feature a pre-conference health literacy workshop and a panel discussion on vulnerable populations.
Date: Thursday 20 – Friday 21 October 2016
Venue: Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
More info and registrations: HERE

The National Multicultural Women’s Conference 2016
Settlement Services International
and the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia
The theme of the conference is Influencing Change: Vision and Impact. The conference will provide a holistic perspective towards shaping a shared vision and driving change for multicultural women.
Date: 3-4 November 2016
Venue: Parkroyal Parramatta, Sydney
More information: HERE 

Easing the pain: trauma informed somatic approaches

Foundation House

Amber Gray is an internationally known expert on somatic approaches to working with survivors of torture and trauma in contexts of displacement and settlement.  Training is suitable for counsellors, physios, nurses, psychologists, medicos and others who work in clinical and counselling roles with people who have experienced severe psychological trauma and physical injuries.

Date: Tues and Wed 8 & 9 November (Register for either day or both)

Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm

Venue: Gravell Room, Brunswick Business Incubator, 420 Victoria Street Brunswick
Cost: $230 for one day $360 for both including lunch, morning and afternoon tea

More info and to register: HERE


Migration, development and humanitarian responses in complex emergencies
Humanitarian and Development Research Initiative of Western Sydney University

This introductory course will cover all aspects of migration including forced and voluntary migration.
Dates: 7–11 November, 2016
Venue: Female Orphan School, Parramatta campus, Western Sydney University (Corner of James Ruse Drive and Victoria Road)
Cost: $1780
Register: HERE
More info: Email Nidhi Dhingra HERE


ECCV State Conference

Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV)
The ECCV and the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council - is hosting : "The Next Generation of Multicultural Victoria - Intergenerational Perspectives Conference".
Date: Friday 11 November, 2016
Venue: Mercure Convention Centre Ballarat
Contact: Toula Elefsiniotis 03 9349 4122 or email
More info and register: HERE

National Youth Settlement Framework Training
Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network

This training will explore how practitioners and policy-makers can incorporate the National Youth Settlement Framework into their work, including using the assessment tools.  The training is targeted at staff and volunteers from government and non-government organisations seeking to strengthen their knowledge and practice in supporting young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
Date: 17 - 18 November 2016
More info: HERE



About Us

The Victorian Refugee Health Network brings together health, settlement and community services to be more accessible and responsive to the needs of people from refugee backgrounds, including people seeking asylum. The eBulletin provides a regular forum to share news, resources and information to support practitioners and services in providing health care to people from refugee backgrounds.