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SCOA is a membership-based national peak organisation.
Our members provide a range of services to support refugees and humanitarian entrants as they settle into life in Australia.
To find out more about becoming a member of SCOA, go to the membership page.
While not directly related to settlement services, the renewed political commitment to multiculturalism is a critical complement to the work of SCOA. Multiculturalism brings into practical effect a range of important human rights. It affirms the principles of substantive equality through the promotion of access and equity, it contests racism and it simultaneously proclaims and normalises the social, cultural and economic value of diversity.
Multiculturalism, then, is a critical complement to the settlement process, helping to establish the most positive social environment in which settlement can take place. Migrants and humanitarian entrants may, in various ways, experience many barriers to their full participation in Australian society. Tangible barriers of employment, language and education (as examples) can be compounded with less tangible impediments such as social exclusion, racism and disparate impact discrimination. This second category of barrier can, in many ways, be more damaging to people attempting to make a home in a new country.
Not only will the new agenda for a multicultural Australia underpin the work of the settlement sector, SCOA is committed to supporting multiculturalism to help ensure it can achieve its goals, and promoting the enormous contributions that well-settled people offer Australia.
It is therefore in a spirit of optimism, a belief in the importance of its role, a commitment to support the settlement sector and to advocate for those communities receiving settlement services, that SCOA has developed its current strategic plan.
SCOA’s advocacy is based on the following values :
* human rights, under which broad value others are subsets, including:
* multicultural democracy
* access and equity
* social justice and social inclusion, and
* transparent, accountable, respectful and client-centered governance and focus.
The following important assumptions or beliefs underpin SCOA’s work:
* All major political parties are committed to maintaining non-discriminatory migration and humanitarian settlement programs
* These programs will continue into the future. Australian society is made up of many ethnicities, cultures, faiths and identities: * We ARE a multicultural democracy and, given that (along with other ‘givens’ such as the economic benefits of multiculturalism and social harmony) the current values of non-discrimination and multiculturalism will – with only marginal variations – be maintained into the foreseeable future
* On this basis, settlement services will continue to be funded by governments so as to ensure the inclusion of new arrivals into the broader Australian society as quickly and as effortlessly as possible
* There is an inherent value in the engagement and participation of CALD community members and CALD community organisations in the settlement sector, even if they are not members of SCOA
* Government, and its agents, will continue to make policy and program decisions based on adequate evidence. This evidence will include research, in particular, research that is informed by consultation with experts who work on a daily basis ‘in the field’
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