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									the journey
issue 13 • march 2007

Serving Country Australia
Centrelink has recently launched its new ‘Serving Country Australia’ strategy. Recognising that those living in rural Australia experience isolation, often compounded by additional barriers, it aims to ensure Centrelink service delivery strategies and where possible, the policies and programmes we deliver, take account of specific rural needs. A key component of the strategy is the formalisation of the Rural Service Officer (RSO) role, which focuses on developing community relationships and consultative mechanisms, coordinating local Centrelink responses to issues facing rural communities in need, and better facilitating vulnerable groups’ access to Centrelink services. Target groups include recently arrived migrants and refugees who experience additional disadvantage due to: • lack of existing community structures, infrastructure and culturally appropriate services, particularly in secondary settlement areas • problems with transportation due to difficulties obtaining drivers’ licences and low levels of car ownership • limited language tuition options • lack of acceptance by the established community in some areas • diversity of languages, including limited face-to-face interpreters • compounded culture shock as new arrivals adjust to the rural Australian environment • seasonal work and associated issues such as transience. Centrelink currently has around 30 Multicultural Service Officers located in rural and regional areas nationally. The addition of 40 RSOs to the network will be a welcome and valuable support to the important services already provided to new migrant and refugee arrivals in country areas.

Foreword
Welcome to the first issue of the journey for 2007. This is a special edition on multicultural servicing in rural and regional Australia, home to nearly 44 per cent of Centrelink’s customers, of whom 13 per cent were born overseas. It is also becoming increasingly popular for the settlement of migrants and refugees. Recognising that rural communities have special needs, Centrelink is committed to ensuring its programmes, payments and services meet these needs through its new ‘Serving Country Australia’ strategy. This issue features a good news story about the settlement of a group of Sudanese and Burundian refugees in Castlemaine, a small Victorian town. It highlights the growing diversity in rural and regional communities. There are also articles on Centrelink’s Drought Buses, which have been touring drought-ravaged areas, and how we’re putting into action the outcomes of consultations with community organisations, such as the development of the new Centrelink Customer Service Charter. Your continued support is important to us. If you wish to comment on Centrelink’s multicultural programmes and services, you can write to multicultural.services.nat@centrelink.gov.au If you are not on the mailing list and would like to receive regular copies of the journey, please send your request to the same address.

Peter Rock National Manager Multicultural Services

Contents
1 2 Serving Country Australia Foreword Contents Upcoming events Country Australia’s rich cultural landscape Castlemaine—small town, diverse community Part of the rural community All aboard the Drought Bus Centrelink serious about customer service How we celebrated Refugee Week in 2006 Work Skills Voucher—building skills for the future Introduction to interpreting—NAATI’s online training course Did you know? Avoid a Centrelink debt African Liaison Unit’s national consultations National Multicultural Reference Group (NMRG) Around Australia... Centrelink multicultural publications New settlement DVD for humanitarian entrants from Africa Translated factsheets for separated parents

3 4 5 6 7

8 9 10–11 12

Upcoming events
Month March Date 21 Event Harmony Day What is it National celebration of a culturally diverse society, to promote harmony and say ‘no’ to racism. Religious celebration marking the death and resurrection of Christ. More information Contact your local Multicultural Service Officer (MSO) for activities in your area.

April

6–9

Easter

Centrelink offices will be closed on 6 and 9 April. Check Centrelink’s website (www.centrelink.gov.au) or contact your local MSO for public holiday payment arrangements. Contact your local MSO for activities in your area.

14–22 National Youth Week

Celebration of young people, with local events, competitions and forums.

25

ANZAC Day

National day to commemorate and honour all those who have served in the Australian Armed Forces.

Centrelink offices will be closed on 25 April. Check Centrelink’s website (www.centrelink.gov.au) or contact your local MSO for public holiday payment arrangements.

June

20

World Refugee Day

International event highlighting the Contact the Refugee Council of Australia, or your plight of refugees. Refugee Week, local MSO for activities in your area. 17–23 June, is also celebrated in some states.

Country Australia’s rich cultural landscape
The rural landscape of Australia has featured culturally and linguistically diverse populations for the last 200 years. Afghan cameleteers assisted in the exploration of inland Australia and the establishment of rail and telegraph links in the 1800s. Melanesian labour known as Kanakas worked in the Queensland cane industry. Italians, Chinese, Greeks and Germans established their presence on farms and in businesses. There was a steady but small flow of newcomers from non-English speaking countries through to the beginning of World War II, after which time a huge increase in overseas intake brought a large number of people who helped Australia’s post-war expansion programme. Currently, around 6 per cent of the rural population were born in non-English speaking countries. This figure does not, however, reflect the wide diversity in the population composition and numbers between locations. For instance, 11 per cent of the residents in Morwell, Shepparton, Griffith and Mareeba are from a multicultural background, whilst Coober Pedy’s multicultural population is 25 per cent. Some areas have been home to older settlers such as the Italian, Greek and Polish communities. New groups emerging include Filipino, Laotian, Vietnamese, Persian and Hmong. In more recent times, humanitarian entrants from Iraq, Afghanistan and the African continent have moved into rural areas, providing much needed labour as agricultural workers and in regional abattoirs, and helping to increase declining rural populations. Skilled workers are also in high demand, particularly in engineering, medicine and nursing. In the past five years, refugees from 43 countries, speaking 41 languages, have settled in country Australia. The majority are located in Toowoomba, Shepparton and Coffs Harbour but are as widespread as Townsville and Warrnambool. Refugees from Sudan are by far the largest refugee community in rural areas and are represented in all but one rural Centrelink Customer Service Centre. In January 2004, the Australian government announced an increase in migrant and humanitarian settlement in country Australia. Work is currently underway to identify new regional areas for refugee resettlement. New temporary visa types to attract skilled labour from overseas are also supporting migration to rural areas. Centrelink has been able to cater for the diversity of languages in rural areas through the Centrelink Multilingual Call Centre (CMC), which allows customers to speak to Centrelink in their preferred language, and the provision of telephone interpreting using Centrelink’s vast panel of accredited and qualified interpreters. Centrelink has a strong presence of Multicultural Service Officers (MSOs) in country areas and has developed close relationships with local communities and service providers. MSOs often take a pivotal role in multicultural servicing and now with the addition of the Rural Service Officers, Centrelink is making it easier for rural communities to access government assistance and other support services. Castlemaine—small town, diverse community Castlemaine, a regional town over 100 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, recently welcomed a large group of Sudanese and Burundian refugees who have settled in the community after gaining employment with KR Castlemaine, manufacturer of hams, bacon and other meat goods.

Employment of about 30 of the refugees, aged from 18 to 40 plus, was the result of a local partnership between community organisation New Hope Foundation (NFH) and KR Castlemaine, one of the district’s largest employers. The project assists employers and communities to address labour and skill shortages, and targets refugees and special humanitarian entrants, as they often experience severe disadvantage in the job market due to settlement, language and cultural barriers. The Sudanese and Burundian refugees started casual work at KR Castlemaine a few months ago. They are very happy and hope to gain permanent employment with the company. Important to the success of this partnership was NHF’s engagement of a bilingual worker to assist in the induction, training and appraisal process of the new employees. NHF also assisted the refugees with orientation of the town, housing, furniture and transport costs. Due to insufficient rental properties in Castlemaine, some of the families have had to settle in neighbouring towns, such as Bendigo, over 35 kilometres away. On 30 November 2006, a meeting was organised by NHF and Castlemaine Community Health Centre to welcome the families to Castlemaine and give them an opportunity to meet representatives of key organisations in the town. Centrelink, along with local agencies, staff of KR Castlemaine, local police, hospital, real estate agents and parish priests were represented. Centrelink provided information about the effect of casual earnings on Newstart and Family payments, and distributed factsheets translated into Dinka. The community was also encouraged to use Centrelink Multilingual Call (CMC) to do their business over the phone, such as reporting their earnings. A few weeks later, Centrelink held a follow-up session during which individual customers were able to enquire about their payment and how earnings affected their entitlement. This additional assistance has given the workers the chance to better understand requirements in the transition to employment.

Castlemaine—a snapshot
Castlemaine is situated in the Mount Alexander district, which was once a gold mining town. Its population peaked in 1851 when 20 000 diggers descended on the town in search of the precious metal. Castlemaine’s population is now nearly 7000. According to the 2001 Census, the majority of Castlemaine’s residents were born in Australia, with only 8.3 percent born overseas in countries such as England, New Zealand, Germany and the Netherlands. Only 0.9 per cent of Castlemaine’s population speak a language other than English at home, with popular languages being German, Greek, Italian and French.

Part of the rural community
Russel Smith, father of three, has a passion for surfing, an interest borne out of his years growing up in Coffs Harbour, NSW. Now living in Armidale, a drought-declared area, he doesn’t see water often. Russel, a graduate of the Armidale University with a degree in rural science, is a Centrelink Rural Service Officer (RSO), a role he describes as ‘diverse and stimulating’. Russel believes being a constant and reliable part of the community is a vital component of the strong relationship and goodwill he has built with the community. He works closely with rural customers to give them information about Centrelink programmes and payments, and also connects them to other government and community services. During times of crisis, Russel is one of the first points of contact, taking a coordinating role with the support services to give customers quicker access to information and assistance. Armidale is a cultural melting pot, with residents of Indigenous, German, Danish, Filipino, Italian, Polish and Chinese backgrounds. In recent years, it has also become home to a number of Sudanese refugees.

The collaborative arrangement between RSOs and rural-based Multicultural Service Officers under the ‘Serving Country Australia’ strategy will ensure a comprehensive delivery of services to multicultural customers in rural and regional areas. With no end in sight to the drought, Russel says, ‘The locals are concerned about their long-term future, but in typical Australian spirit, they’re battling on.’

All aboard the Drought Bus
As farmers struggle through the worst drought on record, the Australian Government has announced a $1.1 billion drought assistance package. Centrelink has launched the Drought Bus, a fully functional mobile Centrelink office in a 10 metre Winnebago that is bringing drought assistance services directly to the affected communities. The first Drought Bus took to the road on 7 November 2006, travelling to some of the worst drought-affected areas in rural New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland to let farmers and locals know about the assistance available. Due to the overwhelming success of the first Drought Bus, another two buses have joined the tour, adding South Australia to their itinerary. In the first three weeks of the tour, the staff aboard the buses, including Rural Service Officers, Social Workers and Financial Information Service Officers, spoke to more than 500 people, 80 per cent of whom had never previously approached the Government for drought assistance. Rural communities have also been able to access Medicare assistance, with staff from that agency joining the Drought Bus team. For more information, contact the Drought Assistance Hotline on 13 2316, or call 13 1202 for languages other than English. Alternatively, visit the Centrelink website www.centrelink.gov.au

Postcard from the Bus
‘On Friday December 8, I had the pleasure of joining the Drought Bus team as it visited Uralla in northern NSW. It was not hard to miss with the 2 large shade tents, 8 flags, and huge caravan with the ‘community faces of Centrelink’ posted over the entire vehicle. The customers I spoke with of course mentioned the ongoing drought. As I’d lived on a farm for 10 years, I understood when they talked about 40 points (10 ml) and one inch (25 ml) of rain. As the afternoon progressed we had a few more visitors, who were assisted by the Financial Information Service Officer and the Rural Service Officer. The Drought Bus is a much-needed resource in the community. Being on the Bus has given me the opportunity to meet the locals and talk to them one-on-one about how we can help.’ From Jocelyn Spicer Multicultural Service Officer, NSW

Postcard from the Bus
‘As a city boy from Redfern, I really had no idea of how bad the drought is. It truly is soul destroying for the people on the land and the small businesses and town folk who rely on the income generated by the farmers. The drought affects everybody and everything! What struck me most as I travelled to these drought-affected areas is the pride of the people and the difficulties they have to endure. The success of the Drought Buses is due to the team of Centrelink officers who worked tirelessly to bring the service directly to the farmers. They are a credit to Centrelink.’

From Paul Creedon Media Manager, NSW

Centrelink serious about customer service
Centrelink has developed a new Customer Service Charter, launched by the then Minister for Human Services, the Hon. Joe Hockey, on 13 November 2006. The Customer Service Charter is a public statement of Centrelink’s commitment to excellence in customer service. It sets out the standard of service customers can expect from Centrelink, their rights and responsibilities, and how complaints can be quickly resolved. Multicultural Service Officers (MSOs) played an important role in the development of the new Charter, consulting with multicultural customers and community organisations to seek their valued opinion about the service provided by Centrelink and areas for improvement. Under the new Charter, customers can expect:

Centrelink will make it easy for them to use its services
Centrelink will answer 70 per cent of customers’ phone calls within two and a half minutes; reduce the time they have to wait in office queues and provide interpreter and teletypewriter (TTY) services for non-English speaking and deaf or hearing-impaired customers. Centrelink also makes information available online, which is particularly useful for customers living in rural and remote Australia.

Centrelink will treat them with respect, courtesy, dignity and politeness
Staff will be honest, fair and impartial, behaving in accordance with the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct and the principles of the Charter of Public Service in a Culturally Diverse Society.

Centrelink will explain their options to them
Centrelink will explain the services and payments that are available, matched to to customer’s individual circumstances; provide information that is complete, accurate, consistent and easy to understand; explain customers’ responsibilities, such as notifying Centrelink of any change in their circumstances, and resolve any complaints customers may have in a timely manner.

Centrelink will respect their rights
Customers have the right to seek a review of, or appeal, any social security decision made by Centrelink; ask to see information Centrelink holds about them and have their personal information protected and kept confidential. Centrelink encourages customers to let it know what they think about its services. Complaints, compliments and feedback are always welcomed as it lets Centrelink know what it is doing well and how it can do better. Customers can provide their comments by calling Centrelink’s Customer Relations line on Freecall™1800 050 004, filling in a Tell us what you think customer comment card (available online and at any Centrelink office), or by talking with a staff member at any time.

More information
The Centrelink Customer Service Charter and the Tell us what you think comment card are available in 30 community languages on the Centrelink website www.centrelink.gov.au under the ‘we speak your language’ link. Customers can also call 13 1202 to provide feedback to Centrelink in languages other than English.

How we celebrated Refugee Week in 2006
The theme of Refugee Week 2006 in NSW and Victoria was ‘Journeys’, to highlight the refugee experience from fleeing their country, to life in a refugee camp and finally, resettlement in another country. In NSW, the Multicultural Services Branch and Marrickville Customer Service Centre held an afternoon tea where Juliana Nkrumah, manager of the Refugee and Network Support Team, recounted her experience as a refugee from Ghana. Guests were also shown a video recording of the Refugee and Indigenous Women’s Human Rights Court, which highlighted the resilience of Sierra Leonean women who have settled in Australia after fleeing their country. Fairfield Customer Service Centre held a barbeque for staff and customers to celebrate the contribution of refugees to the Australian community. In Frankston, Victoria, over 50 customers newly arrived in Australia attended a barbeque organised by Centrelink and local community organisations. In Moreland, 120 refugees came together with Centrelink staff and service providers to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of refugees who have settled in Australia.

Work Skills Vouchers—building skills for the future
On 1 January 2007, the Australian Government introduced Work Skills Vouchers, valued at $408 million over five years, to help build and improve the basic skills of Australia’s workforce and those looking for work.

Who is eligible for a Work Skills Voucher?
Australian citizens and permanent residents aged 25 years and over who do not have Year 12 (or equivalent) or certificate level II (or higher) qualifications are eligible to apply for a Work Skills Voucher worth up to $3000. Priority will be given to applicants who are unskilled workers; income support recipients; unemployed job seekers; and people not in the labour force, either voluntarily or because of carer responsibilities.

What can the vouchers be used for?
Vouchers can be used for the following eligible courses that are delivered by approved training organisations: Year 12 basic education courses; vocational courses up to a certificate level II; and accredited literacy or numeracy courses. For more information about this initiative, the approved training providers and eligible courses, visit www.skillsvouchers.dest.gov.au or call 13 3873.

Introduction to Interpreting—NAATI’s online training course
On 25 September 2006, the National Accreditation Authority for Translators & Interpreters (NAATI) launched its ground breaking online course Introduction to Interpreting. This course will greatly assist new and emerging communities where there is a shortage of professional interpreters by making training more accessible.

The flexibility of online learning means those who are unable to access training due to distance and time will now be able to study where and when it suits them. This course, which students can tailor to their needs, is appropriate for anyone: • preparing for a ‘Paraprofessional Interpreter’ test • wishing to gain an understanding of the interpreting profession • not able to access other preparation training • applying for NAATI Recognition. Due to the urgent need for Recognised Interpreters in African languages, NAATI has waived the online course fee for those who apply, and meet the criteria, for Recognition in new and emerging African languages, such as Acholi, Bari, Dinka, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Krio, Madi, Nuer, Oromo, Swahili, Tigre and Zande. NAATI is committed to developing the skills and knowledge of new and potential interpreters in the community. For more information or to enrol in this online course, go to www.naati.com.au/tw-onlinecourse.html or call NAATI on 1300 557 470.

Did you know?
Financial help is available under the Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) Scheme for primary and secondary students who live in geographically isolated areas across Australia. Tertiary students under 16 years of age may also be eligible. These payments are not income and assets tested and are not taxable. For more information, call Centrelink on 13 2318, or 13 1202 for languages other than English, or visit the Centrelink website www.centrelink.gov.au

Managing your money Avoid a Centrelink debt
Dear Centrelink, I have just started working as a waitress in a café. Yesterday was actually my first day—I did 5 hours. This week, I will do another shift. I will do 2 shifts next week as well. As I am only new, my boss wants to see how I go before he gives me more hours. I want to make sure I do what I have to do about my Centrelink payment. So please tell me what I need to do so I DON’T get a debt. Thank you. Dear Customer, You have done the right thing getting advice. This is a problem facing many customers. The first thing you need to do is tell Centrelink you’ve got a job. You need to do this within 14 days from the date you started work to avoid getting a debt. Centrelink calculates how much money you will get from Centrelink each fortnight based on the work you have done in that period. Your Centrelink pay day may be different to your work pay day, so it’s important you tell Centrelink how much you have earned in that fortnight, not how much money you have received.

To work out what you have earned in the period you have to report to Centrelink, keep a record of how many hours you have worked and your hourly rate of pay. You can use this record to report your earnings each fortnight in person at your local Centrelink office, over the phone, or online through the Centrelink website. Also, it’s important to remember that when you report your earnings, you need to tell Centrelink the gross amount, which is the amount before any tax is taken out, and is usually written on your payslip, or ask your boss. If you tell Centrelink the amount after tax, your Centrelink payment won’t be calculated correctly, and you may end up with a debt. To help you keep a record of your earnings, Centrelink has produced a worksheet called Your earnings worksheet: Helping you keep a record of your earnings which is available from the Centrelink website www.centrelink.gov.au If you have trouble calculating how much you have earned or if you don’t understand what you have to report, just call Centrelink and we’ll help you work it out. You can call to speak to Centrelink in languages other than English.

African Liaison Unit’s national consultations
Centrelink’s African Liaison Unit (ALU) was established in March 2006 to address community concern about the needs of newly arrived refugees, particularly those from African countries. The ALU has conducted extensive consultations with customers, community organisations and staff around Australia. A full report on these consultations is being finalised. In the meantime, the Refugee and Network Support Team have started work on some of the report’s recommendations:

Developing communication strategies for refugees and humanitarian entrants
Information strategies need to focus more on the needs of refugee customers. Centrelink is investigating the literacy levels of refugees and humanitarian entrants in their own language and developing new strategies to effectively communicate with these groups. Developments in this area include the production of a pilot series of radio plays about Centrelink, for broadcast on Krio community radio in Sydney. This is expected to be extended to other languages and regions. Centrelink has also recently produced Helping Centrelink customers get work, an audiovisual CD-ROM/DVD package on the concept of participation.

Increasing understanding of how Centrelink payments are made to families
A lack of understanding of Centrelink payments and how one person’s payment can be affected by another family member’s wages or payment, is causing family relationship issues for some refugees. Centrelink is developing a presentation package for use with refugee families within the first few weeks of their arrival in Australia.

National Multicultural Reference Group (NMRG)
The NMRG meets twice annually in Canberra to provide advice to Centrelink on services to multicultural customers. Its membership includes representatives from the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, Refugee Council of Australia, National Welfare Rights Network and National Council of Migrant Resource and Settlement Agencies.

NRMG meetings held over the past 12 months have had a strong focus on the Welfare to Work changes that came into effect on 1 July 2006. Feedback from the NMRG has been invaluable in ensuring the special needs of multicultural customers were considered during the implementation of the Welfare to Work initiative. Customers of working age will now visit Centrelink more regularly to discuss their job search efforts and participation requirements. The NMRG has been a forum to raise issues about this new model and discuss how these contacts can best work for multicultural customers, including newly arrived refugees, customers with low English language skills and those in full-time English language courses or other funded programmes. NRMG members have provided very positive feedback about Centrelink’s ability to convert community consultations into practical solutions. Centrelink hosts multicultural advisory committees and forums in each state. To be involved, contact your local Multicultural Service Officer or the identified contact below. Community Forums NSW Multicultural Advisory Forum Future meetings 6 March 5 June QLD Multicultural Advisory Committee VIC Multicultural Advisory Committee WA Multicultural Advisory Committee 24 May 23 August 8 March 14 June 13 March 12 June Ljiljana Djordjevic (08) 9238 9012 Maria Axarlis-Coulter (03) 9963 9291 Queenie Balaba (07) 3000 3236 Contact Jane Craig (02) 8512 0850

Around Australia...
Here are some highlights of what’s been happening in multicultural servicing around the country.

Western Australia
Multicultural Service Officer (MSO) May Rebello has been promoting Self Service on her outreach sessions. A recent visit to the local Chinese community, accompanied by a Self Service Adviser, resulted in 33 customers registering to do their business with Centrelink online and over the phone. A collaboration between Centrelink and WA football clubs has seen the launch of ‘Africans in Aussies Rules’, a fun and creative initiative to break down language and cultural barriers experienced by African children and their parents by encouraging them to play Aussie Rules. The launch was a big success, and an estimated 110 children joined in the fun. Various information sessions on Welfare to Work have been conducted with the Liberian, Iraqi, Iranian, Vietnamese and Somali communities. More sessions have been planned for the future.

South Australia
Tanya Kaplan has joined the MSO team in SA, looking after the Middle Eastern and Western Asian communities. She recounts her observations about her new job:

‘I work with a group of people who are from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. They are all friendly, helpful and fun to work with. Every day we deal with people from different cultural backgrounds including new arrivals form Africa, Afghanistan and various other parts of the world. We are one of the initial contacts for most of these new arrivals. I feel Centrelink is a unique workplace, where we all use our combined skills and knowledge to provide better service to customers.’ 25 November 2006 marked one year since the disastrous flooding of the Gawler River, north of Adelaide, which affected the livelihood of many market gardeners, property owners and businesses. In Virginia, the community came together to acknowledge this anniversary and further support those affected by the flood to continue getting their lives back on track. MSO Cuc Ho continues to utilise her Vietnamese language skills to provide ongoing support to the affected Vietnamese community in Virginia during her weekly visits.

Queensland
A number of information sessions on Welfare to Work changes have been conducted with local communities such as the Samoan and Vietnamese in the Logan, Inala and Goodna regions. Sessions have also been held with community workers and leaders. In the Caboolture region, collaborative work between Centrelink, state government agencies and Job Network Members has been undertaken to place multicultural customers into work. In Brisbane, three MSOs have united with the Area Refugee Coordinator to provide a weekly outreach service to students studying English at Southbank TAFE. This service provides information about Centrelink payments, services, and the rights and responsibilities of customers.

New South Wales
The Special Benefit and Refugee Servicing Unit, based in Fairfield, was established in September 2006 to conduct all new claim interviews for newly arrived refugees in the Sydney metropolitan area. MSO Lidia Djuric supports the team with her knowledge and experience of working with refugee customers, enabling them to provide an even more effective and efficient service. In Orange, MSO Caz Pilgrim has been at the forefront of instigating Multicultural Women’s Day and a multicultural interagency network in a region that previously didn’t have channels to raise and discuss issues affecting multicultural customers.

Australian Capital Territory
MSO Richard Harman has been very busy over recent months actively promoting Welfare to Work to the local community. He has also conducted presentations with local TAFE and Integrated Humanitarian Settlement Strategy providers about Centrelink payments and services for migrants and refugees.

Victoria
Centrelink, in partnership with local community organisations, held a forum in November to discuss and provide information about the support and services available to the Sudanese community in Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula. Over 40 Sudanese attended, receiving information about Centrelink, housing, finance, health and childcare services. Assisting at the event was Okwom Ajobwonj, a new Centrelink employee and member of the Customer Service Team, who volunteered as master of ceremonies and interpreter. Welcome to Kathy Brunton who has joined the MSO network to look after the Werribee and Newport Centrelink offices.

MSO Sally Chan has a regular feature on SBS radio where she provides topical Centrelink information to the Chinese community. Sally can be heard on the last Monday of every month.

Centrelink multicultural publications
Centrelink produces numerous information factsheets that have been translated into many community languages. Here are some publications you may find useful, available on Centrelink’s website www.centrelink.gov.au under the ‘we speak your language’ link.

Are you a contract or casual worker?
This factsheet, available in 26 languages, explains how a contract or casual worker’s earnings may affect the waiting period for payment, and what information a customer needs to provide to Centrelink to have their claim for payment assessed. This factsheet is particularly useful for people likely to have irregular work such as customers in rural areas, and those who have recently settled in Australia.

Are you a seasonal worker?
As money earned through seasonal work is treated differently to other types of income, it is important for customers engaged in such jobs as fruit picking, crop harvesting and sheep shearing, to understand how this can affect their eligibility for a Centrelink payment. This publication, available in 14 languages, is useful for newly arrived refugees who have settled in areas where fruit picking is a source of income.

Payments for Australian Apprentices
Australian Apprentices are now eligible to apply for Youth Allowance, Austudy or Abstudy. Eligibility will be assessed on their income and assets and where applicable, their parents’ or partner’s income and assets. This factsheet is available in 15 languages.

New settlement DVD for humanitarian entrants from Africa
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is currently working on a DVD to help newly arrived humanitarian entrants from Africa to settle into Australia and adapt to the new environment. This DVD will provide new arrivals with a range of information and advice on: • public services and support, such as settlement services, Translating and Interpreting Service, English language lessons and Centrelink payments and services, • adapting to a new cultural environment, • renting accommodation, • health services and emergencies, • Australian education system, • budgeting, • employment services, • parenting, • the legal system and • becoming part of the community. This DVD, due to be released in May 2007, will be available in 6 key African languages as well as English. For more information about this product, contact Cressida Thompson, Settlement Branch, DIAC on (02) 6264 3329.

Translated information for separated parents
Separated parents can now access a range of informative, easy to read booklets published by the Child Support Agency in six languages, to help them make informed decisions about their children and child support. These booklets are available in Arabic, Chinese, English, Spanish, Turkish and Vietnamese: • Getting Started • Me and my Kids: Parenting from a distance • Me and my Money: Practical money ideas • Me, my kids and my Ex: Forming a workable relationship for the benefit of your children • What about me? Taking care of yourself The booklet Getting Started provides information about parents’ child support options, rights and obligations. The Me and my series of booklets provide parents with advice on how to take care of themselves, how to maintain relationships with their children and ex-partner, and how to manage their budget after they separate. To view and download electronic versions, or order free, printed copies of these booklets, go to the Child Support Agency website www.csa.gov.au and follow the links. Disclaimer for the journey Important note: While all care is taken in the preparation of information and material in this publication, no responsibility can be taken for any change in the personal circumstances of any person acting on information presented here. For full details on any Centrelink payment or service, contact Centrelink.

CO315.0703


								
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