Le­gal ser­vice takes on mi­grant sup­port

Pilbara News - - News - Peter de Krui­jff

■ Lost Fed­eral fund­ing to help mi­grants to the Pil­bara and Gold­fields ad­just to Aus­tralian life has been redi­rected.

Pil­bara Com­mu­nity Le­gal Ser­vice last week signed a deal with the Depart­ment of So­cial Ser­vices to pro­vide mi­grant set­tle­ment ser­vices in the two re­gions from to­mor­row un­til June 30, 2017.

The $450,000 in fund­ing had been awarded to Fron­tier Ser­vices, but a restruc­tur­ing of the na­tional char­ity to tran­si­tion out of Gov­ern­ment-funded pro­grams meant three mi­grant work­ers in Kar­ratha, Port Hed­land and Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der lost their jobs.

The ser­vice, which aims to as­sist new­com­ers to be­come sel­f­re­liant and par­tic­i­pate in Aus­tralian so­ci­ety as soon as pos­si­ble, ceased in Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der in Fe­bru­ary and in June in Kar­ratha and Hed­land.

PCLS chief ex­ec­u­tive Nanette Wil­liams said when Fron­tier Ser­vices’ mi­grant set­tle­ment pro­gram wrapped up, the ser­vice was ap­proached by its for­mer clien­tele.

“Peo­ple came in and we em­braced them,” she said.

“Many had is­sues we could as­sist with, but now we of­fi­cially have em­ploy­ees who can con­cen­trate on them.

“It’s ex­cit­ing for us be­cause it gives us an op­por­tu­nity to ex­tend what we’ve been do­ing and get more in­volved in the mi­grant com­mu­nity.”

Mrs Wil­liams said the or­gan­i­sa­tion would be able to in­di­vid­u­alise each case and draw on other PCLS ser­vices to get the best out­comes.

While two mi­grant work­ers are ready to start work in Kar­ratha and Port Hed­land, the PCLS will sub-con­tract the Kal­go­or­lie-Boul­der po­si­tion to the Gold­fields Com­mu­nity Le­gal Cen­tre.

Ac­cord­ing to 2011 Cen­sus data, nearly 20 per cent of Pil­bar­ians were born over­seas.

Of the 34 na­tion­al­i­ties rep­re­sented, most are from New Zealand, the UK, the Philip­pines, South Africa, In­dia, China, Ire­land, Thai­land and Malaysia.

The PCLS has been around for 23 years and has 25 staff work­ing across the Pil­bara in Kar­ratha, Roe­bourne, South Hed­land and New­man.

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