Tasmania makes efforts to welcome Africans to Australia’s least multicultural state

Updated

November 19, 2017 13:18:28

Tasmania is the least multicultural state in Australia, but it is hoped better community integration will help keep new migrant families on the island.

Only 15 per cent of Tasmanians had both their parents born overseas, with most of those born in the United Kingdom.

The Migrant Resource Centre in Tasmania is responsible for helping new refugees arriving under the Humanitarian Settlement Program find their feet.

Last week two African families arrived in Hobart to start their new lives.

The centre’s Conrad Gilbey runs an induction course which will help the families adjust to life in Tasmania over an 18-month period.

“It’s a huge shock in many ways,” Mr Gilbey said.

“Some families arrive in winter, which is really shocking. The weather is really great for them at the moment.

“Sometimes they come from 40 degrees, and it’s 5 degrees [Celcius] here when they arrive.”

And they arrive in a place that is comparatively uncrowded.

“One of the main things is that there’s not many people,” Mr Gilbey said.

“A lot of the families come from really busy cities, and they come here and say ‘where are all the people?’

“They’re living in suburbs like Goodwood or Chigwell, and there’s nobody on the street and it’s really shocking to them.”

Mr Gilbey has been showing the families how to find a house, get a bank account, and register with Centrelink.

“Once six weeks or two months pass, things get a bit easier, once the kids are enrolled in school, they find a more permanent house, things get a lot easier for them,” he said.

He said part of his job was helping the new residents, whether they be from…

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