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​Help is at hand for refugees and newly arrived migrants

Published date: Friday, 9 November 2018

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Nearly 170 community workers are set to attend a Sydney conference aimed at helping community workers deliver better services to refugees and newly‐arrived migrants who are
adjusting to life in Australia.

The NSW Department of Justice’s Diversity Services and Legal Aid NSW’s Refugee Service are hosting the event at Bankstown Library on Monday, which will include information stalls
and workshops on assisting clients with legal issues such as fines, immigration and tenancy.

“Coming to a new country is a daunting experience — particularly when you’re unfamiliar with its language and laws — but the large turnout at this conference will show there are many people and services willing to lend a hand,” said Department of Justice’s Diversity Services manager Yasmin Hunter.

The free conference was booked out within two days of registrations opening, prompting organisers to shift it to a larger space to accommodate more community workers.

“People who work with refugees and newly arrived migrants are typically very passionate and committed to what they do and it’s exciting to bring so many of them together so they can share information, improve their skills and ultimately deliver better services.”

The keynote address will be delivered by Associate Professor and internationally respected orthopaedic surgeon Munjed Al Muderis, who fled Iraq at the age of 27 after refusing the orders of Saddam Hussein to mutilate army deserters’ ears. The Department of Justice will also be launching a new online guide for community workers assisting their clients with legal problems.

Legal Aid NSW CEO Brendan Thomas said the popularity of the conference was a clear indication of the need for collaboration across services for refugees.

“Although it has only existed since February 2017, the Refugee Service at Legal Aid NSW has already given individual legal advice more than 1300 times, as well as informed refugees of
their legal rights at numerous information sessions,” he said.

“This conference shows the value of collaboration with Diversity Services, as well as the need for government organisations to co‐ordinate the efforts of community workers, teachers, health workers and community leaders.”

The Law and Recent Arrivals to Australia Conference will be held from 9.30am–4.15pm at Bankstown Library, 80 Rickard Rd, Bankstown. To download Helping your Client with Legal
Problems, A Guide for Community Workers, visit