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Latest News

Indonesian Foreign Minister's comments on refugee protection welcomed

RCOA today welcomed the Indonesian Foreign Minister's plea for countries in the region to share responsibility for the protection of refugees. Read more here.

Restricting legal assistance to asylum seekers increases dangers

The Australian Government's new restrictions on access to funded legal assistance for asylum seekers will increase the risk of people being returned to danger. Read more here.

Submissions sought for 2014 UNHCR-NGO consultations

Feedback from individuals and refugee community groups is being sought on current issues of concern for people living in refugee situations overseas to help inform advocacy at the annual consultations between the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and NGOs at Geneva in June. Find out more here.

John Gibson Refugee Community Leadership Grant

Nominations are open for the annual John Gibson Refugee Community Leadership Grant which supports advocates from refugee backgrounds to take part in the UNHCR-NGO consultations at Geneva in June. Find out more here.

Stopping the boats: Australia's appalling example to the world

In a speech at a Yale Law School conference, RCOA chief executive officer Paul Power spoke about recent developments in refugee policies in Australia. Read the speech here.

No fairness and integrity in permanent Protection Visa freeze

The Australian Government's decision to suspend the granting of new permanent Protection Visas will add to the anguish of asylum seekers living in the community. Read more here.

Australia's asylum policy must change to avoid long-term damage

The Australian Government must change course on refugee policy to avoid long-term damage to the lives of asylum seekers. Read more here.

Denial of work rights for asylum seekers must be overturned

The denial of work rights to about 27,000 asylum seekers living in the community on bridging visas is creating fear and uncertainty and must be overturned. Read more here.

Manus Island disturbance a tragedy waiting to happen

The death of an asylum seeker and the injuries suffered by more than 70 others at Manus Island is an appalling tragedy and a failure of Australian Government policy. Read more here.

Refugee intake increase vital to meet urgent protection needs

RCOA has urged Australia to increase the number of refugees accepted under the offshore program to help bridge the widening gulf between global resettlement needs and available places. Read more here.

Use of Temporary Humanitarian Concern visas as an alternative to Temporary Protection Visas

The Australian Government has released details about its new alternative to Temporary Protection Visas. Read more here.

Inquiry into immigration detention of children welcomed

RCOA has welcomed an Australian Human Rights Commission inquiry into the immigration detention of children. Read more here.

Enough is Enough: It's time for a new approach

On the first anniversary of the report on the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, 64 Australian NGOs have called for a new approach to refugee and asylum policy that delivers protection to refugees. Read more here.


Refugee Week

Refugee Week is Australia's peak annual activity to inform the public about refugees and celebrate positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society.

Read more about: Refugee Week



The role of the Australian Refugee Foundation is to support the work of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), ensuring that Australia continues to have an independent voice on issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers. RCOA was formed in 1981 as the national umbrella body for organisations working with refugees and asylum seekers. Since then, its network has grown to more than 160 organisational members, 700 individual members and thousands of supporters. RCOA works with its network on research, policy development, support to member organisations and refugee communities and public education on refugee issues.

Given the important nature of RCOA’s work, it is vital that the organisation has an independent source of funds. In 1997, RCOA developed the Australian Refugee Foundation to provide the funds needed to ensure that RCOA can continue as a strong and independent voice on issues affecting refugees and asylum seekers, regardless of changes in funding from external sources.

The Foundation is a managed by a Board of Trustees, three of whom are current members of the RCOA Board. The President of RCOA is the Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
This website includes information about the Foundation and its Patrons and Trustees, as well as events organised by the Foundation in honour of the late Dr Ken Rivett, a Trustee from 1997 to 2004.

For more information about supporting the work of the Refugee Council of Australia through the Australian Refugee Foundation, see the How you can help page