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In small cities displaced people from around the world are changing more than just the face of regional Australia. They are establishing businesses, assuming leadership roles and challenging the way that ‘white bread’ Australia thinks. Image Credit: Jon Love

Refugees: building lives in Australia

  • BY Amanda Burdon |
  • March 04, 2014

Refugees are significantly contributing to communities in rural and regional Australia.

Estimates suggest that about 45 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide in 2012, and that total numbers were even higher in 2013. These are some of the highest levels in decades, says the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR)
Australia’s annual intake of people in need of humanitarian assistance – most of whom are referred by the UNHCR – is capped at 13,750 places.

According to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, about 20 per cent of the humanitarian entrants to Australia each year end up living in regional centres, where “they settle well in terms of their social, economic and personal wellbeing”. It’s often a chance to recover from past trauma and raise their families in peace with access to affordable housing, education and employment. Others regard it as an important stepping stone to a larger city.

Read the full story in the Mar/Apr 2014 issue of Australian Geographic.