Australian Human Rights Commission



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Australian

Human Rights

Commission

everyone, everywhere, everyday













2010


African Australians:
human rights and social inclusion issues project

…………………………....


A compendium detailing the outcomes of
the community and stakeholder consultations
and interviews and public submissions

Contents


Contents 2

1 Recognition of Indigenous context 9

2 Overview 10

2.1 Scope and framework 10

2.2 Project partners and governance 11

2.3 Consultation strategy and approach 12

2.4 Questions of identity and terminology 13

3 Current policy and operating context 14

4 Community and stakeholder consultations, interviews and public submissions 16

4.1 Community and stakeholder consultations 16

(a) Additional meetings with Victorian Somali communities 18

4.2 Public submissions 19

5 Employment and Training 20

5.1 Overview 20

5.2 Access to training 20

(a) What barriers do African Australians face in accessing training opportunities? 20

(b) What specific training opportunities would be most helpful to newly arrived African Australians? 24

(c) How can interpreting and translation services be improved to provide better access and assistance to African Australians in the training and employment sectors? 29

5.3 Employment and training needs 31

(a) Can you give examples of genuine training and employment pathways available to African Australians? 31

(b) Please comment on what is meant by ‘securing meaningful employment’ from your personal and/or professional perspective? 35

(c) What career advice is helpful for newly-arrived African Australians? 36

5.4 Employment services 37

(a) What barriers do African Australians encounter in using services of employment agencies (including the Job Network)? 37

(b) Do employment agencies provide culturally appropriate services to African Australians? If yes, then how? 39

5.5 Government, employment and training policies 40

(a) Does government employment and training policy and program design meet the needs of African Australians? Please give reasons in your answer. 40


5.6 Employment opportunities 43

(a) What are the key challenges faced by African Australians in finding and retaining employment (e.g. recognition of qualifications, English language requirements etc.)? 43

(b) What can be done to increase employment opportunities for African Australians? 45

(c) What are the health, social and cultural impacts of unemployment and underemployment for African Australians? 48

(d) As an African Australian, if you have not had difficulty in securing employment in Australia, please tell us about it and some of the reasons that contributed to your success. 49

5.7 Discrimination in employment and training 50

(a) Can you provide examples of how African Australians are treated differently when seeking employment and/or training? 50

(b) What is the impact of this discrimination? 52

(c) How can African Australian workers be made aware of and supported to exercise their rights in relation to discrimination in the workplace? 52

5.8 The effect of religion, age, gender, sexuality and disability 53

(a) Are experiences of employment and training different for African Australians based on religion, age, gender, sexuality or disability? Please provide reasons in your answer. 53

6 Education 55


6.1 Overview 55

6.2 Access to education 55

(a) How do African Australians find out about education services available to them? 55

(b) What barriers do African Australians face in accessing education opportunities? 58

(c) What specific education opportunities would be most helpful to newly-arrived African Australians? 62

(d) How can interpreting and translation services be improved to provide better access and assistance to African Australians in the education sector? 67

6.3 Education experiences 69

(a) What are the experiences of young African Australians in educational institutions (e.g. schools, universities, TAFE, colleges) in Australia? 69

(b) As a parent do you think that schools (public and private) have been helpful and supportive to your children and offered a good education and opportunities to learn? 71

(c) As a parent are you actively involved in the school that your children attend and if yes, how did this happen and what is your involvement? 73

(d) How can young African Australians manage any conflict that may arise between their family responsibilities and education? 73

(e) Are there any issues you are aware of for overseas students (fee-paying or subsidised) from African countries? 75

6.4 Educational needs for African Australian students 76

(a) Can you suggest any programs and services that can provide additional support to African Australian students during their education? 76


(b) How can Australian education institutions (e.g. schools, universities, TAFE, colleges) meet and support the specific cultural needs of African Australian students, especially those who arrive as refugees or asylum seekers? 79

(c) What training and support should be put in place to assist educators to better understand complex refugee situations? 81

6.5 Discrimination in education 83

(a) Can you provide examples of how African Australians are treated differently in the education sector? 83

(b) What is the impact of this discrimination? 84

6.6 The effect of religion, age, gender, sexuality and disability 86

(a) Are the education experiences of African Australians different based on religion, age, gender, sexuality or disability? Please provide reasons in your answer. 86

6.7 Government and education policies 87

(a) Do government education policies and program design meet the needs of African Australians? Please give reasons in your answer. 87

7 Health 89

7.1 Overview 89

7.2 What are the main areas of concern for African Australians in regard to health, well-being and health care 90

(a) In their first year after arrival in Australia 90

(b) In the longer term 93


(c) Does the Australian health care system adequately meet the needs of African Australians, especially newly-arrived refugees? Please provide some examples. 94

(d) As an African Australian, do you generally find Australian health services good quality and are staff professional and polite? 97

(e) Please comment on any gender-specific or youth-specific health issues for African Australians. 98

(f) What are the issues for African Australians with disabilities in relation to the Australian health care system? 101

7.3 Mental health and wellbeing 103

(a) If you used a torture, trauma and rehabilitation service, did it help to meet your needs? Do you have any suggestions for improvement to the service? 103

(b) How do the effects of family separation impact upon the mental health and wellbeing of African Australian families? 106

(c) How do you feel your mental health and wellbeing has changed since coming to Australia? 107

(d) How can the stigma attached to mental health be addressed in African Australian communities? 108

(e) Can you provide best practice examples of how to treat sustained mental health issues for African Australians? 109

7.4 Access to health services 111

(a) What are examples of successful ways to explain the Australian health care system to newly-arrived Africans? 111

(b) Even though African Australians may know how to access certain health services, they do not always utilise all the services that they are offered and entitled to. What can be done to change this? 113


(c) How can interpreting and translation services be improved to provide better access and assistance to African Australians in the health sector? 114

7.5 Culture and health 116

(a) What are some important issues/facts about being from African backgrounds that would be helpful for Australian health service providers to know? 116

(b) What training and support should be put in place to assist health professionals to provide culturally-appropriate services to African Australians? 118

(c) What can governments, NGOs, communities and health services change to improve the interaction between an African Australian and the health care system? 119

7.6 Discrimination and health 122

(a) Can you provide examples of how African Australians are treated differently in the health sector? 122

(b) What is the impact of this discrimination? 124

7.7 The effect of religion, age, gender, sexuality and disability 125

(a) Are the experiences of African Australians, in regard to health, different based on religion, age, gender, sexuality or disability? 125

7.8 Government and health 126

(a) What actions can governments take (or what targets can government set) to ensure African Australians are more healthy, can better overcome any physical or mental health issues from their refugee or migration experience, and can thrive upon arrival in Australia: 127


8 Housing 129

8.1 Overview 129

8.2 What is the experience of African Australians, especially new arrivals, in regard to housing assistance and support? 130

(a) What are the most significant concerns for African Australians in relation to housing? 134

(b) How common is homelessness (including ‘couch-surfing’, rough sleeping and short-term hostel accommodation) amongst African Australians? 136

(c) Searching for housing can put significant stress on families. What support is required to minimise the stress on African families? 137

8.3 Access to housing 138

(a) What barriers do African Australians face in accessing appropriate and affordable long-term housing? 138

(b) In the private rental market, real estate agents and landlords require evidence of prior rental history in Australia. This poses a major block to newly-arrived African families as they cannot compete with ‘more desirable’ applicants who have such rental history. In what ways can real estate agents and landlords be more inclusive of newly-arrived African families? 139

(c) What type of education/training could assist real estate agents, landlords and public housing officers to better service African Australians, in particular, new arrivals? 140

8.4 Housing rights and discrimination 141

(a) Can you provide examples of discrimination experienced by African Australians in the private rental market and/or in the public housing sector? 141


(b) What is the impact of this discrimination? 142

(c) Many African Australians are not aware of their rights and responsibilities as tenants. What other important housing-related information do African Australians need to know, and how can this information be provided? 142

8.5 The effect of religion, age, gender, sexuality and disability 144

(a) Are the housing experiences of African Australians different based on religion, age, gender, sexuality or disability? Please provide reasons in your answer. 144

8.6 Housing sector support 145

(a) How can governments and NGOs better regulate real estate agents and landlords who service African Australians? 145

(b) A person’s housing situation (including the search for housing) can compromise other important needs such as health care, education and employment. How can services be better coordinated to ensure that all vital needs of African Australians are met? 146

9 Justice 147

9.1 Overview 147

9.2 Do you have any comments/ observations/ stories on the experience of African Australians (including African youth) with the legal and justice systems? 147

(a) Community 147

(b) Stakeholders 153

(c) Public submissions 155

9.3 What concerns do African Australians have about the Australian legal and justice systems? 155


(a) Community 155

(b) Stakeholders 157

(c) Public submissions 158

9.4 Rights, justice and the law 159

(a) As an African Australian, do you feel protected by the Australian legal and justice systems? 159

(b) What services exist to explain to African Australians what their rights are when they are involved in the legal and justice systems? 159

(c) Can you provide examples of any incidences where the rights of African Australians were denied in the justice and law enforcement setting? 161

(d) What factors can contribute to negative interactions between African Australians and law enforcement? 162

9.5 Access to the legal and justice systems 164

(a) What barriers do African Australians face in accessing the legal and justice systems? 164

(b) What information about the legal and justice systems should be provided to African Australians to empower them? And when is the best time to provide such information (e.g. when a person is in the legal system, or at different time)? 165

(c) Following on from the question above – how, or through what mechanism/s, can information about the legal and justice systems be best provided to African Australians? 167

(d) What can be done to decrease the level of non-reporting of crime by African Australians? 171

9.6 Combating family violence 172


(a) What are effective strategies that can be used by governments, NGOs or service providers to combat family violence issues for African Australians? 172

9.7 Cross-cultural training 176

(a) Do workers in the justice system and law enforcement receive adequate cross-cultural awareness training? If not, what type of cross-cultural training is required? 176

(b) How can governments, service providers and communities work to break down the fear and mistrust of authority that is felt by many African Australians? 177

(c) Do you know of successful models of African community and law enforcement relationships? 179

10 Additional issues 181

10.1 Cultural maintenance, cultural heritage and values 181

(a) African cultures are diverse and reflect a wide range of values and behaviours 182

(b) the preservation of cultural diversity and cultural heritage are crucial components of the settlement process and social inclusion generally 183

(c) Culture and cultural and religious practices for many in the community are vital to survival and are the lifeblood of the community 183

(d) The retention of cultural family values vital to keeping families connection and healthy 184

(e) While culture and cultural values should be protected, there is a need to recognise that some practices that are sanctioned by tradition could be in conflict with human rights 184

(f) The role of African organisations and other grassroots/representative African groups/bodies play a vital role in the maintenance of culture within the context of Australian society 185

(g) Language is intrinsic to the expression of culture. First language maintenance should be actively supported and promoted 185

(h) Creative arts as a method of participation and inclusion 186

(i) Engaging with creative arts has enabled young people to explore culture and identity 187

(j) Music and dance is an important part of the communities’ intangible cultural heritage and preservation is essential 188

(k) The role of local government in promoting cultural diversity is significant 189

10.2 Immigration experience 192

10.3 Negotiating gender relations 193

10.4 Intergenerational issues 194

10.5 Faith related issues 195

10.6 Relationships between African and other minority groups 196

(a) Relations with Indigenous Australians 196

(b) Intercultural relations with Pacific Islander communities 198

(c) Attitudes towards Gay and Lesbian minorities 200

(d) Issues within African Australian groups and organisations 200

10.7 Community relationships and tensions 201


10.8 Countering negative media stereotypes 204

10.9 Transport 205

10.10 Sport and social inclusion 206

(a) Sport as a method for inclusion 206

(b) Sport as a method for improving negative relations, particularly with police 209

(c) Sport as an arena for discrimination and racism 210

11 Regional consultations 212

11.1 Employment and training 212

11.2 Education 215

11.3 Health 216

(a) Women’s health 217

11.4 Housing 218

11.5 Justice 218

11.6 Sport 219

12 Appendices 221

12.1 Appendix A: Steering Committee and Community Reference Group members 221

(a) Steering Committee members 221

(b) Community Reference Group members 222

12.2 Appendix B: Community Focus Groups 225

(a) Australian Capital Territory 225

(b) New South Wales 225

(c) Northern Territory 228


(d) Queensland 228

(e) South Australia 229

(f) Tasmania 231

(g) Victoria 232

(h) Western Australia 238

12.3 Appendix C: Stakeholders consulted 240

(a) National 240

(b) ACT 240

(c) New South Wales 241

(d) Northern Territory 243

(e) Queensland 244

(f) South Australia 245

(g) Tasmania 247

(h) Victoria 249

(i) Western Australia 253

12.4 Appendix D: List of public submissions received 256

12.5 Appendix E: Abbreviations and acronyms 260

12.6 Appendix F: Acknowledgements from MyriaD Consultants 263





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