Kate McInnes.

NEW arrivals to Australia and Bendigo will have an extra helping hand with a new support structure in central Victoria.

Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services has won new funding to deliver the Settlement, Engagement and Transition Support Program and will be delivering it as part of a newly formed Victorian regional consortium.

The program is funded by the federal government and supports newly arrived refugees and some migrant visa holders who are new in Australia.

The program aims to build knowledge of life in Australia, support people to become self-reliant and to participate equally in Australian society.

Multicultural Services’ executive officer, Kate McInnes said the organisation is delighted to be delivering the program.

“New arrivals often need a helping hand to be able to learn and adapt to Australian life and to be able to access the services and opportunities available to all Australians,” she said.

“The areas of employment, English acquisition and education can be particularly important, as new arrivals are often very motivated to contribute, make friends and give back to their new home.”

Ku Ba Moo is one such new arrival who will benefit from the program.

Ku Ba is 20 years old and arrived in Australia three years ago from a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border.  He moved to Bendigo a year ago to join his uncle and other family members.

“I feel very lucky to be in Australia,” he said.

“There are many opportunities here that we never had in the refugee camp.”

With support from Multicultural Services, Ku Ba has recently gained an apprenticeship with a local painting business, starting last Monday.

“I love my new job and can’t wait to learn more about the business,” he said.

Bendigo Community Health Services has also secured funding under the same program stream.

“Having more organisations funded is a significant boost for Bendigo,” Ms McInnes said.

“It recognises the fact that Bendigo is a successful settlement location, with steadily increasing numbers of new arrivals.

“Ensuring support is available is crucial in ensuring the settlement process runs smoothly and families are able to build new lives in Bendigo.”

– Steve Kendall