The CAS (Community Assistance Support program) provides a systematic program to ensure correct enrolment in Medicare, arrange transport concessions, help set up Australian bank accounts and provide emergency housing while simultaneously facilitating entrance into the rental market.
This 6 week program is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and aims to facilitate the transition process for asylum seekers just released from detention into the Australian community. This forms the initial part of the Asylum Seeker Assistance Scheme (ASAS) which represents the longer-term process for asylum seekers on bridging visas awaiting more permanent protection in Australia.
An additional aspect to this program has been started in the South Eastern Medicare Local Region which involves health triage.
This health triage program facilitates contact between local GPs and Refugee Healthcare clinics and newly arrived asylum seekers. I was lucky enough to attend one of these sessions and observe firsthand the impressive work undertaken by this collaborative group of stakeholders. A basic health screen is undertaken on the day and with the health summary provided by the detention centers. Clients are either referred to GPs in the community or if more complex health needs are identified, directly to refugee health clinics to arrange follow-up.
This is a brilliant program that promotes essential and immediate contact between asylum seekers and health care providers to ensure timely and appropriate access to care. Hopefully, as a result of this visit we can identify ways The Water Well Project can participate in this exciting program and help support the promotion of health literacy in newly arrived refugees.