Migrants and refugees from Equatoria countries, like South Sudan, have called Tasmania home for many years.
Today it is my pleasure to officially open the inaugural national conference of the Federation of Equatoria Community Association in Australia (FECAA) in Launceston.
FECAA was formed as a national peak body in December 2016 and is now a registered organisation which provides a strong voice to advocate for the settlement challenges facing people from South Sudan as a result of that region’s long history of civil war.
We welcome FECAA community leaders, delegates, volunteers and key service providers to Tasmania and I was pleased to deliver a $300 grant from the Premier’s Discretionary Fund towards hosting the conference.
The diverse conference program provides an important opportunity for participants to discuss, and seek solutions for, key issues and concerns facing people from South Sudan in the transition and settlement in their new lives in Australia.
The topics covered include ways to help the most vulnerable people in the community who are struggling to access services and participate in their new community in Australia; issues affecting young people such as mental illness, drug and alcohol use and homelessness; and family reunion and the impact on people living in Australia with immediate family members in South Sudan.
The Hodgman Liberal Government is an enthusiastic supporter of Tasmania’s cultural diversity and earlier this year provided $100,000 for 14 projects under our Multicultural Grants Program.
One of the successful applicants was Launceston-based National Joblink Limited which provides basic computer training courses and on-going support for migrant women to help them better participate in the community.
We wish FECAA delegates a successful and productive conference in Launceston today and we hope you to get to experience more of regional Tasmania during your visit.