ANDREW GILES MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CITIES AND URBAN INFRASTRUCTURE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER ASSISTING FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
MEMBER FOR SCULLIN
After seven years of neglect by the Morrison Government, the Adult English Migrant Program (AMEP) must be fixed, so that new migrants get the opportunity to develop essential English language skills.
Labor will work constructively with the Government and multicultural communities to ensure that the AMEP will meet the needs of new migrants and support social cohesion.
English language proficiency is a critical part of effective settlement services, enabling migrants to fully participate in Australian life.
After seven years the Morrison Government has failed to support effective settlement services, failed to listen to stakeholders and failed to take responsibility for this critical program. Many Australians remember the discriminatory plan to impose the citizenship language test which sent the wrong message to the community.
Its 2017 changes to the structure, funding and curriculum of the AMEP have proved a failure.
The Social Compass Evaluation for the Department of Home Affairs of August 2019 noted “increased workload, inefficiencies, confusion and decreased wellbeing”.
Similarly, the respected Scanlon Foundation of June 2019 reported “intense discontent’” on the part of both providers and teachers and a lack of focus following the 2017 changes.
And the Maximising AMEP and English Language Consultation Report of February 2020 found that time was being spent preparing for assessments at the expense of actually teaching English.
The circumstances of the pandemic provide an opportunity to rebuild our settlement services so that they continue to be fit for purpose as a key foundation of Australia’s multicultural society.
Labor will carefully consider the proposals, listen to stakeholders and will seek to work with the government to ensure that the AMEP meets the needs of new Australians, boosts social cohesion and the economy. A successful reform must pass this test, so that no Australian is left behind.