Refugee Communities Association of Australia Inc. (RCAA) was launched at the Multicultural Hub, AMES Australia on 8th February 2020 in Melbourne with the aim to empower refugee communities across Australia, enabling them to take active roles in Australia. For a long-time refugee community in Australia have been represented by external agencies and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) or by refugees under the remit of these organisations.

This independent peak refugee led national advocacy organisation will work with Governments at all level, civil society organisations, and corporate Australia to develop a positive relationship in order to facilitate successful settlement and integration.

At the inaugural address RCAA Chairperson, Mr Juma Piri Piri said, “The launch of RCAA marks new period in the space of refugees and asylum seekers advocacy in Australia; this transition from others advocating on our behalf to the voice of those with lived experience being us directly knows all the issues that impact on us in the community directly”. He further stated, “We would like to thank those not-for-profit and advocacy organisations who have worked for many years to help us and rebuild our communities by providing us platform that today we have managed to find our own voice by forming RCAA that will work, For Refugees, with Refugees, by Refugees”.

Chairperson of Victoria Multicultural Commission (VMC), Vivien Nguyen said that “in a democratic Australia, every voice matters and the establishment of RCAA says that in a multicultural Victoria and Australia, sense of belonging matters and from that sense of belonging we want to participate and able to contribute and want to serve”.

Chin Tan, Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner said, “The formation of RCAA by refugee communities is timely, important and we need it, there is lot of room to make great contribution through this association to refugee communities and Australia”.

Chairperson of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia FECCA, Mary Patetsos congratulated RCAA committee for this milestone and said, “FECCA looks forward to working with refugee communities directly, I ask you to work with civil society, corporations and government in partnership”.

Hakeem al-Araibi, Community & Human Rights Advocate, Football Victoria and Huss Mustafa OAM, GM, Multicultural Banking Commonwealth Bank were appointed as Patrons of RCAA at the launch for their commitment and dedication to serve the refugee communities.

Chairperson Juma said, “We have started community consultation with grassroots refugee communities to understand their issues and take them with the appropriate government agencies”. Chairperson Juma said at conclusion, “RCAA will hold National Refugee Conference later this year in Melbourne”, (Dates TBC soon).

Heads of settlement service providers and government: Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY), AMES Australia, Department of Home Affairs, State Member of Parliament for Clarinda, Chair & Executive Director of ECCV, Wyndham Community & Education Services, HOST International, Cultural Infusion with over 80 refugee community representatives and leaders attended the launch. RCAA interim committee members from Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales attended the launch.

RCAA would like to thank VMC, AMES Australia, CMY and Host International for your support to make our launch a success.

For more information, please kindly contact RCAA spokesperson Parsu Sharma Luital JP on 0412 265 317 or by email: [email protected]