Between 2009 and 2014 more than 160 Karen refugees from Myanmar resettled in Nhill, attracted by jobs offered by local poultry producer Luv-a-Duck. A report published by Deloitte Access Economics and the AMES settlement agency said the initiative has added more than $40 million and 70 jobs to the local economy. The Karen now comprises 10% of the population of Nhill. Nhill has seen significant benefits in terms of its economy and the social aspects of the town including an increasingly diverse and welcoming community and a Building of social capital in and across both the ‘new’ and the ‘old’ communities. The majority of the Karen are still employed directly by Luv-a-Duck but others work in a range of fields including aged care, hospitality, nursing, mechanics and with the local council and the schools.
The 2016 Social Enterprise Awards celebrated the talents and achievements of some of Australia’s finest social entrepreneurs and businesses in early December. The Award winners are:
ASRC Catering, VIC – Social Enterprise of the Year (Small): provides catering for functions and events in the Melbourne metropolitan area, sources all food from local suppliers and provides training and employment pathways for asylum seekers into the hospitality industry.
Soft Landing, NSW – Social Enterprise of the Year (Large): diverts waste mattresses from landfill and recovers the components for recycling and reuse. Currently operatingin NSW, ACT and WA, it offers entry level training and employment to people experiencing significant barriers to work.
MYC Painting Services, NSW – One to Watch Award: creates employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth by operating a high quality painting and decorating business that employs young people as apprentices and delivers an intensive 26-week training program that meets all first year apprentice training obligations.
Vanguard, QLD – Capital for Impact: funded by Social Ventures Australia and Westpac Foundation, Vanguard Laundry Services will create permanent jobs or 30 people with a lived experience of mental health issues and also operate an industry-linked pathways program.
40K PLUS, NSW – Innovation Award: addresses the lack of access to quality education for children living in remote communities across the world, where there is fluctuating electricity, little-to-no internet and a critical shortage of teachers.
Brisbane City Council, QLD – Buy Social Award: has grown steadily each year and includes mowing and landscaping services, cleaning services, graphic design, catering, animal welfare, training and development.
Walter Villagonzalo, VIC – Social Enterprise Champion Award: established the Migrant HUB as a social enterprise to encourage and support migrants integrate into Australian society and become more active citizens in their local community.
Tjanpi Desert Weavers, NT – Women’s Impact Award: provides culutrally appropriate employment to Indigenous women in 26 communities in the tristate border region of WA, NT and SA.
This is a great article about how refugees in regional areas of Australia contribute to the economy and morale.