Settling Strangers; Supporting Disability Needs

Project Objectives

This project aims to map the sustainability of the City of Liverpool—economically, ecologically, politically and culturally—with particular reference to the quality of life, including services,  for new, recent and longer-term arrivals, including people with disabilities.

Liverpool is home to one of the highest concentrations of Australia’s recent arrivals, and home to many culturally and linguistically diverse communities in their different stages of settlement. As one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia, the city is concurrently going through rapid and significant economic, demographic, infrastructural and environmental change:

  • Liverpool’s current population, 204,326 people, has more than doubled since 1991, and according to some forecasts, is expected to rise by nearly half again (41 per cent) over the next fifteen years;
  • The City of Liverpool is a central place for the resettlement of refugees, and is expected to become home to the bulk of the announced additional 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees; and,
  • The proposed Western Sydney Airport development is expected to transform and drive future investment, jobs reorientation, and settlement patterns.

At the same time, Liverpool is an unusually complex setting that requires nuanced profiling techniques to understand its highs and lows:

  • Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, remains high compared to the rest of urban NSW, as does the number of people not participating in the labour force. However, two universities (Western Sydney University and University of Wollongong) have recently opened campuses in the city.
  • Disadvantage remains high. SEIFA scores consistently point to economic, educational and occupational inequities, particularly in certain concentrated population areas. At the same time, other areas of the city region exhibit comparative affluence.
  • As with many areas of Australian cities, indicators of public engagement — the presence of street life, cultural intermingling, close co-operation with local government and industry — are mixed. It appears low in some areas, while in some of Liverpool’s public spaces an irrepressible public presence of communality abounds with chess, dominos, busking, night-markets, long socialising sessions alfresco, and, of late, groups of men bedecked with chairs and beach umbrella, fishing off the weir on the largely neglected Georges River.

These are instances of the many observed complexities and contradictions prevailing across the Liverpool urbanscape. In order to understand how to respond best to settlement needs, this complexity requires that we clearly identify, chart and navigate Liverpool’s uneven and contradictory circumstances. Socially driven considerations are essential to good design and implementation of community development programs and interventions (especially in the settlement and disability space). This project thus applies a methodology that was developed exactly for such complexity — the Circles of Social Life approach.

Project Scope

Area:  The Local Government Area of Liverpool

Time period:  Emphasis on the present, but with the base-line statistics and description going back ten years to give a sense of social change.

Target groups:

  • New and recent arrivals to the City of Liverpool, including those with disabilities;
  • Longer-term residents in the City of Liverpool who have various experiences of settlement and receiving new arrivals, including those with disabilities. This will be across all areas of service-delivery support;
  • Service-delivery providers and local policy-makers in the City of Liverpool; and
  • Citizens of the City of Liverpool.

Project Activities

  • Generate an ‘Urban Profile’ for the City of Liverpool
  • Go through a ‘Critical Issues Identification Process’
  • Conduct interviews with key stakeholders
  • Disseminate the Circles of Social Life questionnaire

Project Team

Professor Paul James, Institute of Culture & Society, Western Sydney University (Co-convenor)
Dr Liam Magee, Institute of Culture & Society, Western Sydney University
Jakki Mann,  (Project Manager)
Iman Partoredjo, Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre (Co-convenor)
Dr Karen Soldatic, Institute of Culture & Society, Western Sydney University
Averil Straney, Ability Links
Meredith Stuebe, Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre

Critical Reference Group

Hadi Airawi, Local resident, Liverpool Government Area (LGA)
Ayman Alhaboub, Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre & local resident LGA
Marlin Babakhan, SWS Health Promotion Service
Romal Baluchzada, Settlement Services International (SSI)
Shabnam Bhana, Liverpool Council
John Buraho, Local resident LGA
Norma Burrows, Liverpool Council
Sera Cakacaka, Australia Fijian Community Integration
Peter Carroll,  SCRAP (School Communities Recycling All Paper)
Wafa Chafic, TAFE NSW
Darren Chan, Local resident LGA, youth worker
Anna-Marie Connor, Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre
Kamalle Dabboussy, Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre
Iryna Druzenko, Navitas
Rebekah Elliot, Liverpool Council
Zulfia Erk, Ability Links SSI
Jane Flanagan,  National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA)
Ballina Gee, Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre
Kelly-Anne Gee,  WSROC (Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils)
Narcyz Ghinea, Local resident LGA
Rachel Haywood,  Local resident LGA
Ibtissam Ibrahim,  Ability Links, SSI
Dr Eddie Jackson, Liverpool Council
Jenny Jessen, Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre
Guzal Jurad, Local resident LGA
Karamelli Manousso, Local resident LGA
Louay Mustafa, Lebanese Community Council
Professor Brikha Nasoraia, University of Sydney
Olivia Nguy, Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre
Joe Nwkolo,  Igbo Community Australia
Glen op den Brouw, City of Liverpool & District Historical Society
Patricia Pous, Ability Links SSI
Andrea Pritchard, STARTTS (Service for the treatment and rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors)
Zaidoon Rassak, Ability Links SSI
Lucy Reggio, SNAPP (Special Needs Ability Program Providers)
Kaine Reinking, PCYC Liverpool
Judith Ridge, Liverpool City Council
Karress Rhodes, Liverpool Councillor
Shirjana Sangroula, Humanitarian Settlement Services SSI
Michael Selby, Liverpool Library
Mary Sheahan, NSW Refugee Health Service
Geoff Shelton, Liverpool Councillor
Jane Stratton, Think & Do Tank
Mike Thomas, South West Sydney Legal Centre
Nikki Tighe, Liverpool Women’s Resource Centre
Pamela Valentine, Genealogy Society, Local resident LGA
Signe Westerberg, Local resident LGA
Tracey Willow, Western Sydney Community Forum
Debbie Winardi, Mission Australia
Arkan Yousef, Local resident LGA

Supported by

The project is sponsored by the Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre and the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), Western Sydney University.

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