This reference group was established in 2015 and continues to assist the Commissioner to develop coordinated and coherent strategies to address systemic issues experienced by New and Emerging Communities such as racial harassment and discrimination. The membership includes representatives from relevant state and federal government agencies, non-government organisations, educational institutions and the Ethnic Communities Council. It addresses:
- Lack of access to public transport concession cards for humanitarian and refugee entrants
- Lack of support for those experiencing domestic violence
- Discrimination in the employment market relating to insistence by some employers on a requirement for ‘Australian experience’ and a perceived lack of service from job network providers including provision of interpreters
- Proposed citizenship test changes and increased complexity of English language testing
- Lack of access to the health care system particularly where interpreters are not provided.
The Acting Commissioner discussed with senior management of the Public Transport Authority (PTA) issues related to public transport that had been raised in the Reference Group. An outcome of this discussion was that a PTA staff member presented to a subsequent meeting of the Reference Group on the Authority’s strategies and programs available to assist recently arrived migrants and refugees. The Reference Group is comparing differences between Western Australia and other Australian states and territories in relation to transport concessions available to those on community detention orders.
Group members also have an ongoing arrangement with the Department of Training and Workforce Development to present information about equal opportunity and anti-discrimination at orientation sessions for skilled migrants.
Information sessions for migrants have also been conducted for North Metropolitan TAFE, Communicare, Mercycare, Ethnic Disability Advocacy Council and The Health Consumers Council.