Access to services for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers

Refugees Immigration Social services Health services accessibility Auditing Right of asylum Australia Victoria

The processes set up to provide accessible services for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are not resulting in informed and coordinated service planning and delivery, this audit finds.


Migrants, refugees and asylum seekers are among the most vulnerable people in our community because of their often complex and significant needs. Migrants with low English proficiency, and refugees and asylum seekers who have suffered traumatic experiences in their home country and on their journey to Australia, face challenges in accessing the services they need during settlement.

The focus of the audit was on service delivery departments (health, education, and human services) and central agencies with responsibility for multicultural affairs.

While strategic frameworks show that departments understand the concept of cultural diversity, there is less assurance that they understand the multiple needs of refugees and asylum seekers. Departments have policies and programs in place which are informed by stakeholder engagement but not by systematic and ongoing data analysis. Departments report annually on utilisation of their services but not on whether these services are meeting client need.

Victoria has a whole-of-government policy that commits to accessible and responsive service provision to these groups but the structures and processes that have been set up are not resulting in informed and coordinated service planning and delivery.

For improvement to occur there needs to be greater cross-department collaboration, better data collection and analysis to identify if client needs are being met, and stronger oversight of departmental performance.

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