• DHHS
  • Ethnic Council
  • GV Health
  • Justice
  • Red Cross
  • Victoria Police
Questions Community Responses
Afghan Congolese Iraqi Sudanese Bridging Visa
What do you most like about Greater Shepparton? Shepparton is quiet and the community feel safe. Services are accessible and within walking distance. Shepparton is a good place, peaceful and not a lot of trouble. It is affordable and cheaper than Cities and people like the open spaces. Like the people and environment, town, river, lake etc. Have issues with education, hospital and limited public transport. Buying a car is expensive. Train tickets are expensive Don't feel safe all the time particularly during the night. What Shepparton offers is not available elsewhere and the community really enjoys being here. It is a beautiful place and its diversity is reflected in activity at the lake. Accessing information is easy and the interaction of community groups is good. Happy in Shepparton, small city with shops close for access, halal food is accessible, can work, driving and public transport is ok and it is easy to navigate. Enjoy the lake and swimming pool area.
What services do you know Greater Shepparton City Council manages? Roads, rubbish, immunization, child care, planning, volunteers Waste services, cycling tracks, events, roads, immunization Business centre, streets, parks, waste, sport and recreation, animals, neighbourhood planning, road signs. Parks, rates, waste, recycling, planning, family services, immunisation, pet registration, planning. Little knowledge of Council. Aware of rubbish collection, childcare, immunisation, planning, Kidstown and playgroups.
What would you like to see more of in Greater Shepparton? Multicultural events, bus tours, cultural education, grant information, activities for schools such as basketball and soccer. Showcase Afghani culture and celebrate special days. Landscaping of Muslim burial site. Multicultural activities such as St Georges Road Festival. Business start-up support. Hard waste collection and tip vouchers especially rental properties. Road signs for safety and information on where to park, about fines, speed limits and parking at schools. Welcome signage needs to reflect diversity. Education on planning permits and building extensions. Education on rates expenditure and value for money. Education on parking. Language brochures. Public open space needs private areas. Hard rubbish. Waste and recycling is expensive. Larger organic bins for bigger families. Information on the rating structure for advice on where expenditure goes. Safety in public areas around lake, KFC and Hungry Jacks. Opportunities for young people such as students in nursing homes, engagement with community, volunteering at COGS, cadetships, shadowing and post year 12 options. Generally happy. More information on Australian culture, legal system, parking, neighbours, Aquamoves, swimming lessions. Assistance with accommodation. Affordable rentals are very hard to find and real estate agents can be difficult. Support with employment interviews. All issues are referred to Red Cross which confines access to office hours.
Do you know that Greater Shepparton City Council has a Multicultural Development Officer and their role is to implement the Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan? Not really, aware of the staff member but not the Council role. Aware of the role through grant rounds. Very aware and access the officer often to get information which we distribute through the Mosque and community organisations. Link to service is limited to community leaders. Due to war from 1983 to 2005 most cannot read or write. Develop better communication through participating in community events or though GOATFE and Centrelink. Council logo is very visible and recognised. NO knowledge of the role.


Pdf file can be downloaded from here.




Questions Community Responses
Afghan Congolese Iraqi Sudanese Bridging Visa
What are you main concerns in living in Shepparton? Are there issues for leaders? 1.Access to services of you cannot drive(Melb), but easy in small towns
2. Education system is hard - families move to pursue children's studies ie University Student, gap with information and opportunity , lack of understanding . language barrier and cost prohibitive. No information provided from Secondary College about options and what your need to do for accommodation and the choices. So better planning could be for family and their decisions.
3. Transport system
4. Lack of Courses offered at local University, needs more trade skills ie Electrical, engineering etc.
5. Education , difficulties in maintain continuality, year levels. Conflict with teacher – no understanding of cultural reasons or language issues. Mixing into school difficult. English learning not enough – need more and more intensive rather than the basics. Age English ability for student and then parent language barriers ie Student aged 17 should be in Year12, but language and comprehension is Year8/9. Need for additional tudoring after school. Also behaviours as school – no assistance to support them to improve
1. Language difficult to have some translate
2. Renting houses, relocating /transferring into larger accommodation when you donot have fixed incomes or on Centrelink payment – agents don't want to know you. Community need to be educated in the rights and responsibility when renting private or public housing ie Private - issues with maintenance in the rented property (roof ,water leaking – agent blaming us for damage to walls ).
3. Hard to find money for Bond Assistance, indicated was advised that could only use DHHS Bond Assistance once.
4. Consumer Affairs information session on your rights, everyday things, telephones/internet access plans, home loans, warranties on purchases, Happy to work with us to engage the community to partner in developing a information session/s for the community
1.Language barrier – 2. Knowing the Public Housing process – staff need to explain what the difference of Housing Application/Priority Process/Need for support letters and how to complete the forms. Applications only given out in English are they available in other language?
Dept: - would it be helpful if we arranged and information session open to the community.Yes, that would be good. 3. Child Protection – Scary for parents to engage. They are not sure of Australia Law and raising children in here, cultural barriers v new life(new community members). How can parents protect their children, and work if needed with the Dept.? Parental Rights v Child Rights v Child Protection. There is information about housing, but limited to nothing about what is Child Protection. How can we work together to make DHHS staff inform us of their role in support our families, breaking down barriers, and look at earlier intervention rather than later involvement. Sometimes we think C.P is taking a bigger interest in the Ethnic Community. As community members, we would be happy to engage with DHHS to develop information sessions to our community. Also information sessions on Mental Health, Human Rights.
4. Youth Justice, we would also like to work with DHHS on this, etc…community awareness
5. Go Tafe don't teach "real English" we have community members – already have high qualifications, but just want to go there and learn high level. Any information sessions so that we all can be aware to support each other.
1. Housing - There is limited private housing in Shepparton, this has resulted in families moving away from Shepparton. There are families (3) that are sleeping in their cars as they cannot secure accommodation. Public Housing waiting lists are too long. I don't know what the answer is?
2. Positive - Community members working on dairy/piggery farms, (limited education) – 27 on one site. There doesn't seem to be any barriers to language.
3. Youth; either born here or arrived as babies growing up in a different culture to parents. Issues have arisen with children's behaviour , bringing misunderstandings between parents and students. and children being involved in illegal activities (burglaries, drugs etc.) Thus causing issues being the Justice system. (Legal rights etc) We need to work on how we can provide the correct information and support to parents (who speak limited English and lack of phone link services - interpreters) Youth Justice v Parents/Children. 4. Would be good to have information sessions to the community – Consumer Affairs Vic on the Rights and Responsibilities. Thon happy to being involved in organising this.
1.Hard to get housing on bridging visa. Housing longevity – big issue
2.Hard to get job- interview as uncertainly of employment, as we wont be able to stay
3.Challenges with Child care
4.Employment, the language a barrier – so look for jobs on farms, low pay and no transport to area-Red Cross offers. Scared to complain otherwise could lose job. Rights all been abused still. No systems to show what they are actually employed – paid by cash, have also been asked for a ABN – illegal & exploitation. ABN is seen, used to make them a contractor not employee. Language barrier – not confident enough to go in and discuss concerns


Pdf file can be downloaded from here.


Questions Community Responses
Afghan Congolese Iraqi Sudanese Bridging Visa
What would communities like to see change in schools that would better engage young people? (Is there an issue with understanding the work, of feeling included, or the importance placed on education in the family or community) The Afghani community saw the step up from SELC to mainstream education as too big for students. Not enough support when dealing with a mainstream curriculum and expectations More schools utilising interpreters would be helpful As with other communities they would like to know more about smaller issues before they become a major concern to the schools. Congolese community spoke about being very worried about the lack of discipline in schools and the students have too much decision making ability/control They feel their students are not operating at the same level socially and emotionally due to trauma impact of family escaping violence etc. Believe the Shepparton schools have a poor reputation for engaging students from the Iraqi community. The community members felt that the schools do not do enough to deal with fights and are not encouraging the core values of politeness and respect. Employment of staff from ethnic groups would be an advantage Cultural awareness training for school staff alongside the community would be a benefit. Sudanese community feel they rely 100% on schools for the education of their children as they are often illiterate in their own language as well as English and so they do not understand notes or conversations with the school. One community member spoke about the complications of having the student interpret (conversations and notes) and the fact the kids will tell them the opposite of what the note says if it is about poor grades or behaviour. As a community they feel the school only speaks to parents about issues when it is too late, they would like better early communication
How can our schools be more culturally inclusive? Schools do not do enough to ensure that students are mixing with a variety of other students and instead they are staying in their own cultural groups but parents would like to see greater mixing. Community felt that SELC encourages the students to feel they have choices and are 'big' but then mainstream makes them feel small Can the schools be more aware of the culturally significant celebrations/traditions particularly those that will have a student absent from school? Community feels their students are being targeted as being absent when they are participating in religious or cultural traditions such as Ede after Ramadan Similarly being aware of the celebrations that do not require absenteeism but students are taking advantage and not attending school and reporting to the school that it is for religious or cultural reasons
When parents find it difficult to help their children with homework what would the community like to see happen? Is it about helping parents to improve their ability to help (literacy skills) or finding alternative ways of supporting the family and child (homework groups)? Continued after school support to fill in the gaps when moving to mainstream education. More regular parent teacher conferences (don't think the community was aware of the opportunity to meet with teachers at any time rather than just part of parent teacher interviews) Congolese parents would like to help their children more but feel they need different communication strategies i.e. a communication book and worksheets that they can go through with students. Followed by feedback from the school re progress This was the main discussion point with this community. That they feel there is a problem with their students being 'pushed out' of school. Community feel they would like to know earlier if there is a problem and be part of identifying solutions that will keep the students involved in school. Provision of school holiday programs or tutoring clubs


Pdf file can be downloaded from here.
Questions Community Responses
Afghan Congolese Iraqi Sudanese Bridging Visa
How many people from your community are in Shepparton?
Young people
Community indicated that up to 1500 Afghani reside in Shepparton.
100 families are registered with the Association and there are over 100 single males.
The community has large numbers of children and young people
Community indicated that up to 300 Congolese reside in Shepparton. There are 30 families. The community has large numbers of children and young people Community indicated that up to 4000 Iraqi reside in Shepparton. There are 600 families. The community has large numbers of children and young people The community can be transient but still number around 1000 people in Shepparton There are 110 to 115 Bridging Visa holders registered as clients of Red Cross. There may be over 200 in total. Those registered have made applications for Temporary Protection or Safe Haven Enterprise Visas.
What attracted people to come to Shepparton? The community has been prepared to travel and relocate in search of employment and educational opportunity. The attraction of Shepparton is it is quiet, safe, has good facilities and employment is available in the farms, abattoirs and factories. The Congolese came to Shepparton as part of a Federal Government Pilot Program and have enjoyed the area because it is quiet, crime free, they feel safe and it is cheaper than metropolitan areas. They have found study or employment opportunities and many work at abattoirs or factories such as Gouge or SPC. Very few work in the farms. The factor drawing Iraqi to Shepparton include it is quiet, safe, rental is cheap, accessing halal food is simple and there is a critical mass of Iraqi population. Capacity to purchase a building and successfully redevelop into a Mosque is a factor for settlement in Shepparton. Availability of work in the farms and factories is an attraction. A number of Iraqi have relocated to Shepparton to start a business as professionals or tradespersons. Many have come from word of mouth advice that Shepparton is safe and quiet providing opportunities for employment in farms and factories. Services available in Shepparton such as Ethnic Council and GOTAFE attract members to relocate from the metropolitan area. The group came to Shepparton to seek employment, and due to a significant Muslim community also many have friends in the local community. Many have led a transient existence.
What are the major issues facing your community? Changes created by intergenerational issues continue to be a priority issue. Parents are concerned that their children's behaviour is not respectful and there is potential for drug and alcohol use. The changes create tension and occasional conflict within families. Locally education is very good however to access tertiary studies requires relocation to Melbourne. Some health services are only available in Melbourne. Intergenerational change is a huge issue in the Congolese community creating confusion in families about traditional roles, cultural history, respect and a perceived inability to control their children. The community wants information on understanding how a variety of systems work in Australia. They wish to be better informed on the journey from refugee to citizen. They want support and assistance for their community leaders to ensure connectivity within the community and with the mainstream and other communities. In general terms English proficiency is poor for some people which is a significant barrier to economic participation. Accessing appropriate interpreter services at convenient times can be an issue. Intergeneration change issues are a community priority. They perceive a disengagement from 18 to 30 year olds who despite some qualifications may struggle to get permanent employment and are not regularly involved in community activity. It concerns the older generation that these young people predominantly male have only informal soccer in the park as a social outlet. Parental response to young people is concern at loss of culture,language and religion and questions about drug and alcohol use. The community wants to engage in longer term planning to develop a community centre and expanded parking at the Mosque. Poor English skills are seen as a serious barrier to participating in a range of activity including study and employment. Community leaders have identified a deficiency in planning to meet community expectations. Intergenerational change remains an issue that provokes confusion and conflict within families. Traditional family roles are challenged and parents are concerned that their children will be influenced by others to become involved in anti-social behaviour. Young people are receiving mixed messages from their parents and community members. Confused young people have dropped out of secondary school and some have moved to Melbourne.Parents note that young people in Shepparton have not turned to crime however they remain concerned that bad influences will impact their children. The community would like to see a mentoring program for young people introduced to promote leadership. Anxiety caused by the uncertainty of their futures is a substantial issue. Many have family overseas and face being separated for lengthy periods of time. They are isolated from their families and desperate to find work so they can send funds overseas where their families exist in dangerous and vulnerable situations. As single males they are not generally involved with others from their ethnic community which creates isolation from their culture which add to anxiety.Public open space around the Victoria Park Lake is a popular meeting place and recreation site and preferable to spending long hours at home. Some have been involved with drugs and self-harm.
Does your community have difficulty accessing services in Shepparton? If yes which ones? The community would like to have a broad range of tertiary education opportunities available for their children in Shepparton. Finding accommodation in Melbourne for their children to attend university is expensive and many families opt to relocate to reduce costs. Language is a regular barrier impacting on community capacity to access services. Generally the community has not identified any major issues accessing services. Accessing transport and appropriate interpreters. In general the community have no difficulty accessing a range of services. For many issues the community will try to resolve them in house and will only resort to mainstream agencies if they remain unresolved.
What services do you expect the Ethnic Council to provide? The community would like the Ethnic Council to provide support services to community members and assist in larger community projects such as expanding the Mosque to incorporate a community centre and landscaping of the burial site at Kialla West. Support for the community to access grants funding is important. The community expects provision of support services and assistance to the community. The community would like to build a collaborative relationship. The community expects provision of support services and assistance to the community. Assistance with community planning was identified. The community expects provision of support services and assistance to the community. At this point the Bridging Visa group has had little contact with the Ethnic Council but have indicated they would appreciate any level of support.


Pdf file can be downloaded from here.
Questions Community Responses
Afghan Congolese Iraqi Sudanese Bridging Visa
The timetable for fulltime English classes at GOTAFE has been revised (3 ½ days) to allow students greater flexibility and to meet attendance requirements. How can attendance be improved further?
  • Comment re classes: range of ability levels in one class makes it difficult
  • Would like a structured 'book' so motivated students can work ahead
  • Focus should be on speaking, rather than academic writing, numeracy
  • Needs to be a strategy to help students understand the reasons they are studying
  • Make students understand that it is their future not just money from Centrelink
(Some comments 'heard from others')
  • Range of ability levels in one class makes it difficult
  • Continuous enrolments compound this
  • St (low level) found Australian teaching methods confusing
Despite trade-taster programs (e.g. hospitality, community services & hair dressing) being delivered, there has been minimal interest. What strategies can be implemented to motivate students?
  • Rep commented that in Sudan certain skills are recognised as being useful and productive – enough to start a business / provide for the family, e.g. tailoring, nursing, agriculture, sewing, hair braiding, so some re-education re skills needed in Australia needs to be made
  • Students need to be told that their English is not good yet enough to get a job so they need to work harder
What information sessions would be beneficial to the community? Information sessions re:
  • Dept. Justice
  • information about courses at GOTAFE
  • hospital service/tours* (commented about community not understanding the triage system)
Information sessions re:
  • Career pathways (specific information)
  • Target year10/11 students so that they know what training besides university courses are available
  • Parenting skills for parents of teenage children, particularly boys
  • Issues relating to teenage behaviour, alcohol, drugs, gangs, etc. and how to motivate disengaged youth
Once students' English has reached a high enough standard, GOTAFE offers many training courses for work (some of which can articulate into university courses in the future). What further training would people be most interested in? Very hard to find a job even after C2/3 and further courses are difficult for the same reason Should look to do courses that lead to real jobs, e.g. aged care, hair and beauty, mechanics, trades
GOTAFE training courses are suitable for young people who have completed high school. What courses would these young people be most interested in?
  • Engineering
  • Medical
  • Expressed difficulties of parents whose children want to study at university in Melbourne, e.g. rent, living away from home (including disillusion, loneliness, etc.), transport, need for families to relocate
  • Science courses, other than nursing, to be available locally, e.g. courses that articulate into further study for paramedics, medicine, pharmacy
  • TAFE courses in construction
  • Interpreting course (Arabic)
  • Offer of classroom space off site (Ethnic Council)
  • Tiling
  • Construction


Pdf file can be downloaded from here.
Questions Community Responses
Afghan Congolese Iraqi Sudanese Bridging Visa
When you have visited GV Health in the past, were you asked if you would like an interpreter? Was an interpreter provided? Yes, although can be difficult at night. Often need a specialist interpreter and preferably a female for women's issues. Yes, always asked and received an interpreter. Interpreters are good. Asked most of the time. Interpreter service could be improved. Not all interpreters have the same accent or dialect as community. Concerns around privacy of information if local interpreters used. Staff could be more understanding of expectations when making appointments to CSO (?). Staff voice tone changes negatively when they hear our accent. Community would like to maintain a link to specific staff such as in Dental. Small language groups without interpreters. An Arabic interpreter may not have the right accent and dialect for Sudanese. Very polite but not understanding the issue. When the interpreter is booked the origins of the patient need to be checked to ensure interpreter compatibility. Staff need to check that the message they are giving is both received and understood.
When you have visited GV Health in the past, did staff listen to you and understand your needs? Yes but waiting time in ED can be a long time. Hospital need more doctors to see patients in 30 minutes not 4 to 6 hours. People get angry when delays or waiting times are not explained. Yes most of the time depending on the person. GV Health not language signed like other hospitals. ED waiting times and triage is a concern. Would like female sonographer. Would like to be asked whether they would like a female sonographer when booking apt. Lack of feedback regarding SCS referrals. Take too long to respond. GP's have referred elsewhere due to delay. System encourages people to exaggerate to speed up service in ED. No real problems with the system. Community is very proud of the birth rate however some discomfort or offense is felt when staff make light hearted comment about them being back again to have more children e.g. "are you pregnant again?".
Would you recommend GV Health to a family member or friend? People are kind but busy. If any complaint it is with GP's who tell patients there is a long waiting list at GVH and encourage them to go private which costs more and there is still a wait time. No. Service is better in other hospitals. Ethnic Groups could be better treated. Example given of Muslim patient in Dental during Ramadan. Cultural training for staff in CSO (?) Sometimes a lack of compassion. Yes, community understands the system and think the staff are supportive of multiculturalism. In respect of mental health many Sudanese think it is linked to witches or a curse. Difficult to access the service. Would be good to open up Mental Health service so people can see what it is like. Hospital needs space
What do you see as the challenges to using GV Health services? Signage is ok but many community members cannot read. Symbols and pictures would be easier. Female doctors and sonographers needed for female community members. Long wait for specialist appointments in SCS of up to 2 years or referral to Melbourne with the delay or referral being not well explained. Community feel 1 to 2 months is an unacceptable wait for appointments. Long unexplained delays in ED that some consider racially motivated. Referrals to outside diagnostic services should be reduced. Community members have called Ambulance Victoria and struggled with the range of questions being asked. On occasion advised to drive to GV Health. ED gives priority to very sick people which is not understood by community. Community very confused with ED triage. (Have attended a mtg at Ethnic council abut Triage system) Junior Doctors in ED need more experience. ED could be cleaner No understanding of the structure of operation of ED. Not able to recognise who the Doctor in charge is. Children in ED waiting area with violent and bloody patients. ED not big enough. Doctors should always speak English not first language. Nurses are very good. Hospital needs to manage patient expectations. Need to increase staff from diverse backgrounds Would be good for Drs to be in uniform to be able to recognise them. ED Waiting times. Community do not understand triage and people being seen out of order. May be perceived as racially motivated. Need to eliminate perception and empower patients. Need to inform community about Nurse and Doctor on call services. If accessing SCS from other than main entrance it can be confusing. Need better maps/signage to help get back to main building from outside. Billing changes not well explained Limited use of services. Know how to call triple 000. Anxiety and mental health issues among the Bridging Visa holders who are away from their families for a long time. Tense personal situation creating stress and anxiety. Red Cross supportive of Mental Health pathway.
When you have visited GV Health in the past, what did GV Health do well? What was the best part of the service that was provided? Service is good from nurses and reception. Dental service was good. Card was accepted Reception is good and helpful. Appointment reminders and letters is very good. First experience with dental services was very good. Access to dental and X Ray is very important for new arrivals. Hospital tour was very good and useful. Nurses in Ed are more experienced than the Doctors. Midwives are very good. ICU is very good and understand the various cultural issues such as shaking hands, showering etc. Large families are managed well. Nice and friendly staff. Staff diversity. Good communication. Latest map is an improvement. Hospital tour useful. ED not good. Interpreter was good with correct dialect. Dental service was good. Hospital tours in groups of 8 to 10 in same language groups would be excellent.


Pdf file can be downloaded from here.
Questions Community Responses
Afghan Congolese Iraqi Sudanese Bridging Visa
What sort of disputes occur within the community? With people from another culture? How are they resolved? We don't have disputes within our community. We did have some problems with the neighbour noise however, this was resolved. If there is a small issue we talk between each other. Stuart Davidson explained the role of the Dispute Settlement Centre Victoria (DSCV). The community members spoke about residents having problems when there are misunderstandings in their community. Stuart informed the residents that DSCV could help with conflict resolution skills. The community are very interested in receive this training. When asked if the residents were interested in participating in the Prisoner Visitor scheme, there was a lower level of interest. If there is a problem with someone, community members will seek the advice of the community leader. If you are unable to resolve the problem yourself, the leader will provide advice on what to do. It is very difficult for someone to go to court or go straight to the police. They may send you to church, maybe if you go to jail you will have nothing to eat. Things are very different over here, there is a different way of addressing the issue. There is a lot of material and techniques, to try to help with the issues. An issues can take 3-4 years to resolve. In the Congo, if I bring the issue, tomorrow I may see a person punished. There is no time lag. Here a Policeman might come to a house, he doesn't push you, and he doesn't beat you. In the Congo this wouldn't happen. It makes us avoid any problem. The justice system is very good here, as there is a process which tries to understand what really happened. In the old days we would go to the Elder. I would get guidance on ways to solve problems. The same with family issues, always using elders with families. This was the traditional way, talk to the Elder first before going to court. Problems were solved before going to court. Elders, mediators, need to be clear with the law. If we don't have clarity, then we may not be able to help. We see lots of issues, we need to know what to handle and what to pass on. DJR offered to provide assistance to the Elders, about the law and mediation and that would be a help. Talk to small group of key people. If I have a problem. If it is not clear, I have a network to contact and this is the best way. Other issue – employment is a very big issue. Many people don't have a job, how can we handle this? How can we get employment? How can we get into the system? There is the issue of experience. We can start course, how are we getting the experience. Need to be busy and then they won't be involved in crime. Employment is effecting our people a lot. Back home good pay, good money, pressure to be a lawyer. There are no problems with disputes occurring within the community. There may the occasional racist comment made by neighbours about small problems like a bike being left outside the house, but the community is not really worried about this. If their children are bullied, they would report this to the Red Cross. Generally, they have never had any issues with neighbours over the past 3 years. If there was a problem, they would move house and they would report the problem to the Red Cross.
How many people rent? How many people are buying a house? What are the main problems? The Afghani community reported that it is difficult to find a place to live as they don't have a rental history to give to the real estate agents. There was an issue with one family who moved to a house and the girl had a lease for 3 years. All of the appliances in the house were changed and they tried to charge the tenant. They went to Legal Aid to seek advice. Department of Justice and Regulation (DJR) informed them that they can go to the Tribunal about rent increases and repairs to a property. DJR gave out the Consumer Affairs Victoria number. No problems The Sudanese stated that people who arrived in 2007-2008 have now bought houses or are working towards buying a property. Everyone is working towards buying. There are renting problems. Culture and real estate requirements or practises are completely different. Sudanese tend to clean carpet all the time. The landlord leaves the carpet in a dirtier state. When they buy a house they are relieved and happy to not be renting. If you buy your own house, they know where their money is. Nearly a quarter of residents own their own home. Sudanese have experienced a few issues with buying their first home. They have had issues with brokers, lack of transparency, understanding contracts and working with First Home Owners.? DJR offered to provide assistance with looking at home purchase and building contracts. Some Sudanese have a deposit to buy a house but banks won't lend them money as they don't have work. They have a very good rent history. The community feels if they are paying rent regularly, why shouldn't they give them a loan? Sudanese families have a number of children, (4-6) makes it very hard for you to borrow the money, even though have a clean history of paying. This causes suffering in the community. We have many children. This is the Sudanese system. This Bridging Visa community finds it difficult to obtain a rental property. They believe this is because they are foreigners. They will share a room with others and one house may accommodate up to 20 people. Their accommodation is crowded, there are not enough toilets and showers. One example. of a problem was with a house owner, who built another house in the backyard. They then increased the rent and did not tell the tenant that this was going to happen. The tenant was not aware of her rights. The residents find it very hard to get a good house, this is a big issue for them. Whenever they apply, they get rejected on the basis that they don't have a rental history and they are not working. They can afford to rent these properties but, the real estates prefer to rent to people who are working. They can prove that they have the money but, they don't have payslips which, is what the real estate agents request.
What do you think would help people to not break the law? The Afghani's stated that there were issues relating to the immigration process. This causes stress within the community, particularly for those on a Bridging visa. The residents are not committing crimes but they still need to know more about Australia's legal system. They would like to know how it operates and how it can help people. They would like an information session relating to the purchase of cars. They would like real life examples and to learn about their rights to make a complaint. The Congolese community needs help and needs education. There are big problems with children, at school, or wherever they are going, we discover that they are telling our children about their rights, but they don't tell them about their obligation or duty. They know very well their rights, they don't know their obligation. The Congolese expressed concern about the disciplining of children and that is significantly different in Australia. There is not a balance between teaching them there rights and their obligations particularly in Schools. Iraqi people expressed and demonstrated a need to understand the law and what is a crime in Australia. Topics that need explaining include Family violence and Child Protection. These sessions need to be delivered in their language and could be half day short courses. People could receive a certificate for their attendance. The Iraqi's suggested holding the courses at the Mosque. They indicated that there are no barriers at the Mosque. The Iraqi offered to work with agencies to make a program with the provider. We would prefer that women speak to women and men speak to men. If there is a dispute in the neighbourhood, we need clarification about what is a crime. This community would support going into the prisons to visit people from an Iraqi background.There is a consumer issue with a builder. Taking money, and not completing the jobs. Issue is that he has taken the money and didn't keep the job. DJR followed up the matter after the consultation. Great concern for the children and where they are heading. They require work, activities, sport and interests locally. The Sudanese encouraged talking to their kids themselves and listening. The parenting is very different in Australia to Sudan and this creates problems. The children may not listen to Parents but may listen to their Eldes or friends They see a brighter future with partnerships between parents and service providers. The kids need information about the system and crime and putting something together to prevent it. Kids it is quite clear. They will say I am bored. I have nothing to do. Leadership falls apart because, there is no support. The reasons for this? Parenting system is different. When you come to Australia, don't use your system anymore. Use a new system not trained for it. When you talk to your kids the way you used to talk, pick it up differently, they don't listen. If you try, you don't have the techniques, at the end you will get into conflict with them. The law says no you can not parent the way we used to. We need to have tools and skills to do something with them. Help us get the resources. So we can help control our kids. We have a lot of meetings but, not any results. Community meetings. Since 2007 until now, children still going out of our hands. We don't have a place we can bring together and fill the vacuum. They go to Melbourne. Many are now in prisons because of running to Melbourne. No activities here. That's why they run to Melbourne to look for activities. When the generation starts from 17 up, don't have any control of them. This is one of the big problems. Every time we make a meeting but, nothing. As these people are new in the country they are not aware of what is right and wrong. They would find it very beneficial to receive education about laws in Australia. When asked what would be the best way for this to be delivered, they suggested an information session through the Red Cross as they are already connected with them.
Besides not having enough money what are the main concerns in buying goods and services? There was an issue the community faced when they built their Mosque. They sought advice from a Solicitor, as the Builder didn't finish the job. They talked to the community and they didn't know what to do as taking action would cost them too much money. They did not want to lose money for the mosque. They would like more information about how to address this problem and where they could go for help. Renting is an issue. Out of 50 families, 8 families have bought houses on a loan. The others are renting. Big challenge for us is to get a house for rent. We struggle to find places. Came in 2015, I found a house through Cutting Edge. I have two children. The problem is around showing experience of renting, payslips and lots of things. Hard to get house with a Centrelink payment. This is enough money to rent and eat, however the Real Estates don't accept this. This is a big problem. Finding jobs is not yet an issue, there is no discrimination in Shepparton for our community. People are helpful and show us other things. For immigration issues we will use a city lawyer. It is the same Building problem mentioned before. He promised to do the kitchen plumbing. There are many complaints. When asked why people keep on using him, the response was that the engineer refers him. This issue is now more than 8 months old. (DJR to follow up.) The community needs education about contracts. They need to know that these should be provided in writing. Once something goes wrongthey need to know where to go to make a complaint. Many of these trade people, they manipulate because we don't speak English. DJR– talk to CAV about providing session. Issues with buying online versus buying locally. People have experienced issues with items failing and understanding their rights in relation to refunds and warranties. Issues with buying cars and warranties. DJR– CAV to provide information session on when and how to buy. What is the best way and what you need to know about warranties. No problem.
Pdf file can be downloaded from here.
Questions Community Responses
Afghan Congolese Iraqi Sudanese Bridging Visa
What is your understanding of the Red Cross services available to those in the local area? Support for those experiencing adversity such as refugees. Provide practical help and humanitarian relief. Link families in Africa. International organisation with great caring staff. Provide little support to settled community and asylum seekers not supported by government. Unsure of government connections Undertakes international humanitarian work. Bridging Visa support. Communication and assistance in conflict areas. Tracing service Help with financial difficulties. Support with everything for settlement. Improve English Blood donation Charity work.
What are the key issues impacting on your community? Asylum seeker uncertainty. Health, mental health leading to ice drug use. Education option locally post-secondary school Emergency Department wait for service even triage Cost and frequency of public transport between Shepparton and Melbourne. Access to information on university education including scholarships, assistance to relocate and separation from family. Cultural issues impacting on behaviour of young people who rebel through smoking. Not well addressed by schools other than SELC. Bullying at schools. Mental health and unsure how to access help if required. Community supports itself mental health is an issue. Stress is considered normal due to past experiences. Most in the community cannot recall not being stressed. Challenges of school, peer group pressure, anti-social behaviours and young people feeling they have rights to do what they want and make poor choices and don't understand responsibilities. Confusion over road rules. Stress and mental health. Frustration at changing government migration policy and visa issues. AAT appeals are complex and costly. Centrelink payments reduced when overseas. Asylum seekers undergoing assessment have high stress and little support. Separation from family leading to mental health, resistant to change and not able to focus on everyday tasks. Spousal visas are very difficult and take a long time. Uncertainty about travel to Australia impacts on marriage options. Socially isolated women need support. Incidents of alcohol and drugs Health, mental health Intergenerational change leading to conflict. Supervision of children and young people being bored and wanting to go out. Lack of engagement for young people mainly boys which has resulted in behaviour or trouble with parenting practices adjusting to a new culture, cultural difference and alcohol and drugs. Employment opportunity is limited, mainly farm work and employment pathways are not easy. Overcrowded housing with up to 20 adults in a house. Uncertainty with visa eligibility. Financial stress with some not eligible for support. Accessing English classes. Access to specialist medical services. Limitations or restrictions on visa.
Does the community have access to support services to address these issues? Uncertainty about who is responsible and who to be contacted. Community shame is a barrier, people are fearful of reporting. Many can be disconnected from community and the Mosque can be a barrier. Mutually support each other. Many issues hidden and not discussed. School based supports have been helpful. Require education on family violence, crime, drugs and alcohol. In adolescent ages there is poor behaviour, parental conflict, crime, drugs and alcohol. Confusion with road rules. Need for parenting and education programs. A priority area is gaining access to legal support and advice in sponsoring family members and citizenship applications both of which can take a very long time. Feel like the Australia is not helping them and the government is against them. Unable to travel as there is a lack of understanding of Government and Centrelink rules and regulations. Relationships with service providers is good and based on a caring relationship. Red Cross and large agencies advocate on behalf of communities to government. Would be useful to have supervised youth activities. Community leaders provide great support. Service providers to respect family values and reinforce parental advice. Cultural awareness sessions can help. Community is unsure of mental health issues and how to access services. Counselling provided has not been helpful. Asylum seekers are not aware of services they are eligible for and who to contact. Usually direct questions to Red Cross.
What employment opportunities are available locally for people in your community? Language is an ongoing barrier to participation. Those on Bridging Visas have difficulty. Permanent visa have opportunity to work mainly factory or farms. No security in casual work. Community is very keen to work. Low education reduces work pathways and most work in factories or farms. Access to tertiary education limited by English proficiency. Understanding cultural differences Those that succeed in getting employment usually have good English skills. Community networks have helped develop employment pathways although limited experience can be a barrier. Job network providers can feel impersonal and be disheartening. Good employment performances by individuals helps others gain work by creating a good impression. Better study and training options need to be explored with a long term focus. Benefits of voluntary work. Employers being comfortable with workplace diversity and have an understanding of cultural competence. Having good interview skills and confidence to self-promote is difficult for some. Language is a barrier and there are few opportunities. Employers appear reluctant to employ short term visa holders. Many pick fruit but are concerned that labour contractors take large amounts and workers receive little payment. Scared they will lose jobs if they complain so accept poor conditions. Apply for jobs but never hear outcome. Contractor state rates of pay but nobody knows if this is correct.
Is missing family due to war or conflict prevalent in your community? Safety of family offshore is an ongoing concern Family overseas and uncertainty over reunification increases anxiety and family pressures. DIBP delays in processing and unfair processes. Concerns impact community. Common issue. Being away from family and children is stressful and a big issue. Feel responsible to provide financial support.


Pdf file can be downloaded from here.
Questions Community Responses
Afghan Congolese Iraqi Sudanese Bridging Visa
Feel very safe in the community but a wary of the CBD on Friday and Saturday nights. Drugs and Alcohol are not a problem in the Afghani community. Violence within the community is also not a problem. When tragic incidents occur overseas it is very concerning, but when the incident occurs in Australia (Dandenong) Police are encourage to contact community leaders and attend evening gatherings at Mosque. Needs – Education on Crime Prevention and Australian Law and should be delivered during a community event like Ramadan post Iftar. The main things that come out of this discussion were that there is Alcohol and Drug misuse within the community. Needs – Education in Drugs and Alcohol, Family Violence and Crime Prevention. However the community will not be willing participants if it's titled as such. Use events such as Music, Food or Arts. Feel reasonably safe in the community and understand that precautions can be made to keep yourself safe, locking your car and keeping away from the night life alcohol scene seems to be common theme. Alcohol and Drugs don't appear to be a problem, however they are aware of some instances where a small number of youth in the Iraqi community have used drugs. When tragic incidents occur overseas it obviously impacts the community when they have family in that area. No need to hear from Police, however when the incident occurs in Australia (Sydney Siege) Police are encourage to contact community leaders for reassurance purposes. Needs – Education in Drugs/Alcohol, Crime Prevention and Australian law to be delivered to the community at the Mosque. And perhaps register interest via Eyewatch or something similar. Generally feel safe in the community, however third hand there was an issue in one of the lower-socio economic sectors of Shepparton where a neighbour disagreement resulted in criminal victimisation. Drugs and Alcohol are problem with some of the youth and parents are not aware of how to handle it, unsure of powers or rights. Needs – Community education in Drugs and Alcohol, particularly for the parents and needs to uniform to what is taught in Schools. Crime Prevention and Australian Law, the Sudanese boys that robbed the Toorak Jeweller were used as an example of why this is needed. Needs to coincide with another community event they will want to attend. All parties feel safe in the community and are aware not to leave things on display as they are then vulnerable to theft. Feel safe in the CBD/Mall, but avoid it Friday/Saturday after dark. In particular the Afghani men were afraid of Drunks and troublesome youth; while the Malaysian women are not afraid, just avoid the hassle of drunks - no issues with the youth. Both groups unable to provide information regarding individual communities about Drugs/Alcohol as they are not yet linked in. Both groups very happy with Police and appreciate the difference to what they have previously known. Needs – Face to face education in Crime Prevention, Australian Law and Family Violence. Best way for this to be delivered is through red cross.


Pdf file can be downloaded from here.