Migration Council Australia today welcomed the release of the latest Scanlon Foundation ‘Mapping Social Cohesion’ reports and called for more migrant services to counter rising levels of discrimination and division in high migrant areas.
The 2012 research found that in communities with high levels of ethnic diversity, only 37 per cent of respondents believed immigration had a positive impact on daily life. For those from a non-English speaking background, 22 per cent claimed they had experienced discrimination, almost double the national figure.
MCA CEO Carla Wilshire said urgent support is needed for communities undergoing demographic change.
“There are some worrying trends that if left unaddressed could have a real impact on Australia’s social cohesion,” Ms Wilshire said.
“It is time state and federal governments looked at boosting settlement services for new migrants, including English language assistance and cultural orientation programs, to make sure we remain a cohesive and harmonious society.”
The local area research shows that a significant proportion of third-generation Australians have highly negative views on migration. Programs designed to foster trust in communities would break down barriers and integrate migrants more effectively.
“It is important to think about how we prepare suburbs for migration and the community infrastructure that’s put in place to ensure harmony,” Ms Wilshire said.
“Australia is a migration nation and as long as we need skills and workers to address our ageing population we’ll need to find ways to settle migrants effectively and give them the best possible chance to contribute.”
Contact MCA Media: 02 6162 0361 or MCA CEO Carla Wilshire: 0409 363 888