Jenny Blencowe, Manager of the Research & Policy Unit at AMES to present at the Australian Regional Development Conference

Jenny Blencowe, Manager of the Research & Policy Unit at AMES to present at the Australian Regional Development Conference being held at the Commercial Club Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.

The Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

Speaker Introduction: Jenni Blencowe has over 20 years’ experience working in the area of migrant and refugee settlement and with asylum seeker programs. Her early experience was in teaching and in managing education programs. More recently she has used her expertise in strategy and policy development to establish the AMES Research & Policy Unit – a group that manages evidence collection across the organisation, undertakes research and evaluation projects and works on policy development in areas impacting on newly arrived refugees and migrants.

Presentation Title: Small Towns, Big Returns: the economic and social impact of the settlement of a community of Karen refugees from Burma in the small rural town of Nhill, Victoria
Co-Author: Tony Doyle, Chief Executive Officer of Hindmarsh Shire Council, Terry Taylor, Research and Policy Officer at AMES and Nanthu Kunoo, Community Liaison Officer at AMES

Overview: A significant number of Karen refugees from Burma have been attracted to resettle in the small township of Nhill by the prospect of employment in a large local business and the chance to re-establish their lives in a rural environment. Research conducted by AMES and Deloitte Access Economics reports on the direct and indirect economic and social impact of the resettlement of the Karen in South West Regional Victoria.

The AMES/Deloitte report – Small Towns, Big Returns – describes the process of the Karen settlement and employment in Nhill and the value to both communities that has accrued. In the context of a focus, at all levels of government, on increased resettlement of migrants and refugees in regional Australia the research findings identify a number of conditions, both economic and social, that have supported the successful settlement of a community of refugees in rural Victoria. This provides important insights that can both create the case for, and inform planning of, planned resettlement in other Australian communities.

Parallel to the AMES/Deloitte research, the Hindmarsh Shire Council has developed a Karen Community Action Plan to guide the community, government and service providers to best assist the Karen people in their new and different life.

The plan acknowledges the Karen community’s importance in Nhill’s cultural diversity and the role they play in strengthening the local economy. It identifies key areas for improvement, change and growth. Critically, it represents Council’s continuing commitment to assisting the Karen community transition from life in refugee camps to making their home in Nhill. In delivering the actions in this plan, Council is committed to seeking continued input from the Karen community.

About the Conference: The Australian Regional Development Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation. The 2015 theme is “Redefining the Future of Regional Australia”, it will explore the issues and opportunities facing Regional Australia today and into the future.

Concurrent streams will focus on the following topics:

  • Sustainability / Renewables
  • Population Movements
  • Community Development
  • Government Policy
  • Innovation
  • Infrastructure
  • Cultural Tourism / Regional Tourism Development
  • Free Trade Agreements
  • Transport and Logistics
  • NBN / Broadband Communication
  • Banking / Finance

To view and/or download the Australian Regional Development Conference program please click here.

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