Humanitarian arrivals in Melbourne: a spatial analysis of population distribution and health service needs (extended report)

Refugees Public health Health services accessibility Immigration Melbourne

This research was developed in partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services, University of Melbourne and representatives of government, health and settlement services to build evidence about recent humanitarian arrivals across northern and western metropolitan Melbourne.

In many health planning and related forums conversations focused on the increasing numbers of  humanitarian arrivals across numerous suburbs of Melbourne and the difficulties that health service  providers had in meeting the needs of the rapidly changing and increasingly diverse population. Strangely,  little quantitative data was available on the topic and a research project naturally evolved.  

The main aim of the research project was to scope and map available data sets to build quantitative  evidence about the spatial location of recent humanitarian arrivals and combine this with qualitative  information from key informants working with these people in health service provision.

Another key  objective was to identify data sets to provide a spatial analysis of bilingual General Practitioners and  possibly the use of interpreters in health services.  Several quantitative data sets were identified as useful to achieving the objectives of the research: the  Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Census and Migrants Integrated Dataset (2011); Department of  Immigration and Border Protection Settlement Database (2010-2015); the AMES Australia Humanitarian  Entrants Management System (2013-2015); and the National Health Services Directory for General  Practitioner listings.  

This report provides spatial analyses of each of these data sets and detailed information on visa  categories within locations, countries of birth, languages spoken and changes to settlement patterns  over time. These quantitative analyses also informed in-depth interviews with key informants providing  health services to humanitarian arrivals including members of the project’s Research Advisory Group.

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