The Australian Situation

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The Australian situation

Australia is an amazingly culturally diverse country. Since World War II over 7 million people have migrated here, with 775,000 of those being refugees and other humanitarian entrants from all over the world. The 2011 Census showed that here in Queensland:


  • 26.3 % of Queenslanders were born overseas
  • 12.2% had one parent born overseas and 26.3% had parents who were both born overseas
  • 11.9% of Queenslanders live in homes where two or more languages are spoken

When people first arrive in Australia they need to learn a range of new information and skills related to living in this country. They also have to develop new relationships and connections. This is particularly so for refugees and asylum seekers – who have been forced to flee their homelands to avoid persecution – and need support to successfully establish a new life in our community.

Whether as a neighbour, friend or volunteer (or all three!) you can play a significant role in welcoming and helping refugees and asylum seekers with their settlement in this country, simply by providing companionship, assistance and support.

Australia in the global picture


  • By the end of 2011, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide stood at 42.5 million. Of these, 15.2 million were refugees. The overall figure also included 895,000 asylum-seekers and 26.4 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).
  • Between 2007 and 2011, Australia received just 2% of asylum seekers across 44 industrialized countries (including the EU, US and Canada). This ranked Australia at 19th in terms of numbers per population, and 16th in terms of GDP per capita. As a proportion of the latter measure – France, US, Germany, Turkey, UK, Sweden and Canada received between at three and six times as many applications for asylum.
  • Of the 35.4 million total population of concern in 2011 (refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs and stateless people) just 28,676 were seeking protection in Australia, including 5,242 asylum seekers that had cases pending.
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