SBS Article- Migrants and Indigenous Australians are amoung some of this nation's poorest people


SBS Article- Migrants and Indigenous Australians are amoung some of this nation's poorest people

Migrants and Indigenous Australians are among some of this nation's poorest peoples

  • Homelessness Australia say that migrants make up 30 per cent of the homeless population.

Migrants and Indigenous Australians experience the greatest rates of poverty, compared to any other group in Australia. Jo Hartley asks why.

By Jo Hartley 17 OCT 2016

Australia is ranked as one of the most expensive places to live in the world, and, consequently, much of the population is struggling to keep from falling below the poverty line.

However, it seems that our culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities are struggling more than Australian-born residents.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, CALD communities are disproportionately disadvantaged in areas such as employment and access to government services. 

Migrants' earning potentials are lower, and those who arrive in the country with little or no English are particularly susceptible to poverty.

Figures show that the unemployment rate of recent migrants is 8.5 per cent, in comparison to 4.6 per cent among Australian-born residents.

Similarly, migrants' earning potentials are lower, and those who arrive in the country with little or no English are particularly susceptible to poverty.

A report, conducted by the Australian Council of Social Services, found that poverty rates amongst migrants whose first language isn’t English is 18.8 per cent, compared to 11.6 per cent of those who are Australian born.

The rate of poverty amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is 19.3 per cent.

“Homelessness is a big problem across the whole country,” says Digby Hughes, acting CEO at Homelessness NSW.

While New South Wales has a current rate of 40 homeless people per 100,00 of the population, the worst area is the Northern Territory, with 730 homeless people per 100,00 of the population.

“The biggest growth in homelessness is severely overcrowded dwellings, where there are four or more bedrooms short of what is needed,” says Hughes.

In Sydney itself, the worst affected areas are the Indigenous communities within Blacktown and Mount Druitt.  This then extends in an arc from Bankstown, Liverpool and Campbelltown.

“This is mainly first generation migrants and is predominantly due to housing unaffordability,” says Hughes.

National figures from Homelessness Australia show there are currently 105,237 people in Australia who are homeless: 25 per cent of these are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and 30 per cent are born overseas.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, CALD communities are disproportionately disadvantaged in areas such as employment and access to government services. (Image: AAP)


Homes for the homeless: where are all the shelters?

But with homeless shelters already fit to bust, the future doesn’t look very bright. State and federal governments spent more than $700 million in the last financial year on specialist homelessness services. 

However, a Productivity Commission report released earlier this year found that one in four people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are turned away from accommodation services each day because they are already full.

With limited places already available, some CALD people are further disadvantaged because of language barriers and cultural or religious beliefs.

For example, Hughes says Muslim women can struggle to find shelters because their religion prohibits them from sharing with men.

“While CALD communities experience the same issues as the general population, their situation can be exacerbated by language issues, family and domestic violence, problem gambling and alcohol and drug use,” says Hughes.

“We’re also seeing some increase in numbers of women on spousal visas becoming homeless as the relationship falls over.”

A lack of funding also means that homelessness services aren’t always able to provide culturally appropriate support such as translation or bi-lingual services. 

Similarly, a lack of awareness or access to support services increases the difficulty of the situation for CALD people.

Dr Mark Glazebrook is the CEO of Project New Dawn, a national homelessness organisation that provides a unique wraparound solution to homelessness through housing and employment.

He says that refugees, migrants and Indigenous people are at a greater disadvantage when it comes to understanding how the ‘system’ works. 

“Traditionally support for people from CALD communities has extended to interpreting, translation services and staff awareness,” he says. 

“However, whilst this is important, we believe that greater attention should be focused on helping people navigate the often-confusing array of services and processes dedicated to homelessness.”

“We sometimes forget that migrants may have had traumatic experiences with government or authority and it’s up to us, the support agencies, to appreciate and adjust to these sensitivities and provide them with knowledge and confidence,” he says.

“While CALD communities experience the same issues as the general population, their situation can be exacerbated by language issues, family and domestic violence, problem gambling and alcohol and drug use.”

Dr Glazebrook admits that housing will continue to be a challenge for people from culturally diverse backgrounds in the future. 

However, he’s optimistic that many more options will become available if we start becoming more innovative about how housing is sourced.

“We need to think about continuing to repurpose commercial property for housing or, as in Project New Dawn’s case, access private housing for homeless people through the generous support of employer partners,” he says.

“Focusing on a more innovative wraparound model, such as ours, seeks to reduce much of the complexity surrounding access to housing and employment.

“In turn, this enables people to put their efforts into what’s important - doing well in their new job and setting up their new home."

October 17 marks the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Find out more about what this day means and how you can help the fight against global poverty.



End of an Era

Danielle and Sue.

Danielle and Sue.

The following is an email from Danielle in Brisbane. Danielle and Sue tirelessly worked for Project New Dawn for the past ten years. As Operations Manager Danielle and Sue were my first interstate visit where I met two very passionate ladies. I was happy to meet them and this proved invaluable when I first started with Project New Dawn. Their insight into the programme, their passion for working with homeless individuals and determination to give people a chance in life filled me with hope that Project New Dawn is a unique model which offers jobs, housing and support, different from other models I experienced in the past.

We had our sandwiches and tea and they treated me to a truthful account of what has happened and what needed to happen. Me with my note book writing busily as they spoke. I could hear their frustration, however they were not negative in anyway, very constructive and it was an eye opener, which I was happy to listen and learn from.

I think I have thanked them as much as possible as I know the PND Board appreciates their work and diligence. Danielle and Sue you are fantastic and with all the hours you put in to Project New Dawn everyone is thankful to you both. You went above and beyond your call of duty for the participants, the cause, homelessness and without you, the programme would not have lasted as long in Queensland.

One day in the future hopefully we can work together again.

End of an Era, however the new direction the company is taking is also very exciting with the introduction of Project New Dawn's Indigenous Employment Initiative, partnering with AFL SportsReady.

    "The final pieces have now been completed with the wind down of Project New Dawn in Brisbane.

The house has been handed back.

Sue and I had our final catch up at BP Bowen Bridge for coffee and goodbye’s last Wednesday where I presented Sue with some flowers and chocolates, which was also her birthday as it turned out. Sue and I will remain in touch and photo is attached.

Thanks again for the opportunity to be involved, and for all the help along the way. This program has done just as much for me as I have put into it….well almost :) The most important thing is that we got to make a real difference in some people’s lives and we can all be proud of that."



Project New Dawn, making a difference to people's lives!

The following is a great, heart warming story from one of employment partners at Project New Dawn! Read and enjoy.

If you'd like to support us please click on the Donate Link..

*Mary, one of our new team members from the Project New Dawn programme, received her first pay in 4 years. She was crying, and we couldn’t work out why, she commented that she was so lucky so have a job, and be in a caring and wonderful workplace. Since she joined a few weeks ago, she has already received her first service award. Such a wonderful feeling to know that we have assisted someone back on their way. We are all helping her move her belongings to her new house this weekend


2015 Gallery Night


2015 Gallery Night

In October 2015, PND held its second Gallery Night, with the generous support of Clayton Utz, Eugene and staff, Radio Rentals, Pizzini Wines, Darren Henry Photography, ACSO, Mission Australia and all who donated gifts for the auction.

In attendance were over 100 guests, including David MacKenzie, Associate Professor at Swinburne University as our key note speaker and David McGettigan, an inspirational artist with a lived experience of homelessness.

On display were around 40 pieces of artwork by homeless artists from Mission Australia (Sydney) and ACSO (Melbourne).  We are pleased to say that over 80% of the artwork was sold, needless to say the artists received sales proceeds for their efforts.

Thank you for a live entertaining auction which was conducted by Auctioneers from Nelson Anderson Real Estate on the evening, to raise much needed funds for PND to sustain its activities. Great fun was had by all!

Project New Dawn would like to thank all the guests, supporting partner organisations as well our working volunteers for their marvellous help on the night, pre night and post night. Without this input it would be very difficult to have everything running as smoothly as witnessed on the evening.

Major thank you to the Board who as always done an amazing job with organising, planning, marketing, commitment and post event tasks.





Project New Dawn Nominated for Victorian Homelessness Award

Project New Dawn attracts deserved recognition from the Prestigious Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards!

A big thank you to Paul S from ACSO for the encouragement and assistance during the process! 

Thanks to Council for Homeless Persons (CHP) who have done a great service to the community by acknowledging the work of the Agencies within the homelessness sector!




Abdi's Story

This is a story about Abdi who lives in Melbourne. Abdi came to Australia from Somalia...

Prior to Project New Dawn

Abdi lived a very unsettled life. He lived in his car and travelled around different locations in Melbourne to find a safe place to park overnight to sleep. He would frequently use community facilities such as public toilets in order to make sure he was maintaining appropriate levels of personal hygiene. As a result of this stage in his life, Abdi experienced low self-esteem and confidence. He had no stability in housing or employment for a long time. 

Recently Abdi was given an opportunity to take part in Project New Dawn. We arranged for Abdi to be interviewed by Bunnings at Mill Park, where he demonstrated to the Store Manager he had the commitment and perseverance to successfully make changes in his life. He was selected to begin his exciting journey, commencing employment and residing in a privately leased rental property arranged through Project New Dawn.

Being Involved in Project New Dawn

Since joining Project New Dawn, Abdi has continually proven he is committed to changing his life. He has successfully managed to maintain his tenancy, sharing with 2 fellow housemates. In addition, he has accomplished some milestones which he is proud of, which may have once only have been a dream prior to joining Project New Dawn:

1.      He has been able to afford braces for his teeth

2.      He has purchased a TV for his bedroom

3.      He is saving money to make a trip back to his home country Somalia in order to visit his family, particularly his mother who is unwell. 

Beyond his personal life, Abdi has continually strives hard at work. To date he has been awarded 9 customer service awards for his commitment to serving customers!

Project New Dawn has been recognized by its social welfare partner (ACSO) as providing once in a lifetime opportunities for individuals of disadvantaged backgrounds to turn their life around and create positive outcomes. ACSO staff have noticed a very successful change in Abdis lifestyle, he has grown as a person and presents much more confident in his ability to communicate. He now has direction about what he wishes to achieve in his life. 

(this story was written by Abdi’s case worker and published with his consent)





Melbourne Business School celebrates with Project New Dawn

After a very exciting and enjoyable two weeks, students from Melbourne Business School along with their Academic Mentor, Andrew Zur, invite founder of Project New Dawn, Albert Li to MBS Celebrations.  

Project New Dawn appreciate all the hard work they put in to their Final Report. Thanks to Paul, Kathy, Chen and Linda who worked tirelessly during the fortnight with us.




Project New Dawn Welcomes Brooke Miller

A BIG Welcome to Brooke Miller who comes with a wealth of knowledge and business acumen. Project New Dawn are proud to have Brooke as part of the PND Team, now consisting of eight hard working individuals with the same goal to make  a difference in a homeless person's life.

Brooke Miller is the Chief Financial Officer for BP Asia Pacific. After receiving an MBA from Melbourne Business School, Brooke joined BP and has held a variety of roles including General Manager for Elite Customer Solutions – the BP Business Service Centre which provides services across finance, sales and marketing and logistics with a staff of ~400 employees; Regional Director for BP Solar Australasia responsible for the deployment of the solar photovoltaics throughout the Asia Pacific; and  General Manager of BP Bitumen Australia, a national manufacturing and sales operation. 

Brooke's career started in landscape architecture and town planning, and she holds a Bachelor of Planning & Design and a Master of Landscape Architecture. Following university she was involved in the design and construction of commercial scale projects for the best part of a decade. 

Brooke is passionate about supporting organizations focused on creating a caring and equal Australia.






21st July 2015


People who are homeless now have a powerful ally when trying to rebuild their lives.

Findings from independent research released today, from the Melbourne Business School, has found that Project New Dawn, a small homelessness agency creates $11 worth of social benefit for people receiving its assistance, for every $1 spent.

This $11 benefit is achieved by offering every participant something unique only to Project New Dawn: a job, a place to live and ongoing support. Evaluated against the internationally recognised SROI Social Return on Investment methodology, Project New Dawn is able to achieve significant social and financial benefit to both individual participants as well as to governments and society generally.

Despite being a relatively new organisation, Project New Dawn’s effectiveness compares favourably with other homelessness agencies such as The Lighthouse Foundation.

Commenting on the release of the University study, Project New Dawn Chair, Rebecca McGrath, said, ‘I am delighted that our mission to help people stand on their own two feet is not only providing real jobs and a real home but is also demonstrating real value for money. Our grant funders and supporters are achieving a great return on their social investment.

Mark, one of Project New Dawn’s 45 successful participants describes his experience with Project New Dawn...’before Christmas I couldn’t save up or plan for anything, but now I have stable accommodation and a job and am saving up to buy a’s definitely been life changing.’

Image provided by MBS

Image provided by MBS


More information




Grill'd Burgers Donating Cheque to Project New Dawn

Project New Dawn Operations Manager receiving the much appreciated cheque from Grill'd Burgers Lt Bourke Street Melbourne Restaurant.

THANK YOU all at Grill'd for your amazing support!

Fantastic to have had this much recognition from people who have read and respected what PND are all about! Thanks to all your customer's who took the time to Vote PND No 1!

Grill'd with PND


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Project New Dawn Voted No 1 by Grill'd Customers

No 1.png

A BIG Thank you to all the Grill'd Burgers Customers who took the time to read and learn what Project New Dawn are trying to achieve.

Thank you also goes to Grill'd Burgers Manager Ernestine and the crew down there on Lt Bourke St. Appreciated very much!

Please visit, have a lunch or dinner, take a Token and Vote for your favourite charity. Charities are changed every month at this wonderful social conscientious business.  

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Rob's journey to Project New Dawn

Project New Dawn Operations Manager visits Partners Salvation Army and BP Perth    

Rob at The Beacon Perth

Rob’s house sit ended and very quickly his money ran out with no other alternative, he began living in his car. His father and partner took him, however things started to deteriorate and Steve lived in his car again.

A Teacher holding a B.Ed, he taught Mathematics in the UK prior to moving to Australia. Too many restrictions within Australia have prevented Rob to continue teaching here in Australia.

Tutoring private students with his high level of Mathematics, he was able to assist many young people to get the grades that were required. DJ-ing and doing house sits for people when he could; otherwise Rob predominantly lived out of his car. During school holidays the tutoring dried up and Rob lived a very hand to mouth existence.

Living for nine months has been very difficult as we can only imagine how trying it would be. To be confronted everyday on what one needs to survive is a terrifying thought and one can only empathise with the plight of being homeless.

After travelling varies parts of WA in his car to find work, bad luck struck upon Rob in a most devastating way. His car, his home and his shelter broke down in Bunbury WA. Here he met the Salvation Army who supplied him food, clothing and assistance to get the car fixed. Rob in return helped out where he could within the centre.

Rob’s luck began to change a little bit as he was offered assistance from the Beacon Programme run by the Salvation Army in Perth. Rob lived here for a further eight months still being considered homeless due the fact he has not got long term housing.

Salvation Army has been working with Project New Dawn for several years now and due to the enthusiasm in all that Rob was displaying, Salvation Army offered Rob a chance to work with Project New Dawn and BP.

Rob jumped at this opportunity and is now employed with BP in Perth, with the support from Salvation Army and Project New Dawn. The innovation from Project New Dawn, Salvation Army and BP has given this young man a chance to rebuild his life with a home and employment. The `wraparound service,’ being provided is exactly what is needed to resolve an intolerable situation of being homeless.

I was fortunate enough to meet the management, staff, BP representative and Rob at The Beacon in Perth. This story, as do many others touched my heart and I am very proud of Rob for taking on the challenges he faces every day in a manner that is thankful and appreciative of being given an opportunity. Rob I am sure as many other participants on the PND programme will be successful in their lives.  Thanks Rob for sharing with PND your story of hope.

Quoted from Rob “For quite a while one of my thoughts has been, `Thank Heavens for the Salvation Army!’”