Implications for Practice: Exploring the Impacts of Government Contracts on Refugee Settlement Services in Rural and Urban Australia
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© 2017 Australian Association of Social Workers This article presents the findings from a small qualitative study of Refugee Settlement Service (RSS) workers under Australia’s Humanitarian Settlement Services and Settlement Grants Program. Managers and front-line workers from five Refugee Settlement Services in rural and urban New South Wales were interviewed to examine the impact of new Government funding structures and contracts on the delivery of services and supports to newly arrived refugees. The comparative findings show that the Government’s contractual arrangements impact Refugee Settlement Services in different ways; ultimately prioritising market-like structures and undermining their core service roles. We argue that improving the relationship between Government and Refugee Settlement Services is critical to successful refugee settlement.IMPLICATIONSSuccessful refugee settlement requires greater flexibility and responsiveness in rural and urban Refugee Settlement Service (RSSs).RSSs require increased autonomy and control over funding to enable locally responsive service provision for newly arrived refugees.
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