Improving the health and wellbeing of migrant and refugee communities by consolidating cross-sector knowledge and expertise, fostering good policy and supporting culturally competent practice.


Australia is an ethnically diverse nation

with over 29 per cent of the population having been born overseas. Our growing cultural and linguistic diversity has benefited Australia enormously both economically and socially, and will continue to do so into the future. Our changing demographics require a response grounded in strategic forethought and collaboration to ensure that critical systems, such as health care, are supported in enabling equitable access, experience and outcomes for individuals and communities.

Migration and ethnicity-related factors, as well as refugee experiences, are important social determinants of health. Migrants and refugees are frequently associated with impaired health and poor access to health services and there is evidence of inequalities in both the state of health and the accessibility of health services to these population cohorts. Migrants’ and refugees’ health, and their access to health care, can vary widely between different groups, based on factors such as gender, age, pre-migration experiences, migration status, and other variables.


Migrant and Refugee Health Partnership

brings together health professionals and the community to address systemic barriers to health access for migrant and refugee communities. We also seek to strengthen health-promoting assets in communities, recognising that improvements in the health and health system literacy have a direct positive impact on community health and wellbeing.

Our story

The Partnership was established in 2016

as the Migrant and Refugee Women’s Health Partnership, in recognition that women from migrant and refugee backgrounds often face greater challenges in accessing health care and that their health care needs are complicated by pre migration experiences. The Partnership quickly grew into a national clinician-community collaboration to address systemic barriers to access to health care for migrants and refugees, with a focus on women as a particularly vulnerable group.

The Partnership’s key priority over the first two years was the development of the competency standards framework for clinicians in the context of cultural responsiveness and working with people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. The Partnership also developed relevant resources, and sought to inform policy and practice through consultation and advice.

The work of the Partnership was overseen by the Working Group with representation from 11 medical colleges, peak professional bodies for nurses and midwives, community, and government.

Two specialist sub-working groups were formed to further inform the work:

  • Sub-Working Group on Refugee Women’s Health and Settlement
  • Sub-Working Group on Effective Communication and Working with Interpreters in Health Care Settings

These working structures convened regularly to progress the Partnership’s priorities.

In early 2019, following the completion and the launch of the competency standards framework—a major milestone for the Partnership—and a strategic review, our name changed to Migrant and Refugee Health Partnership. This is reflective of the evolution of the Partnership’s scope since its inception, providing a broader focus on migrant and refugee health. Women’s health has been and will remain one the Partnership’s key priorities.


What we do

The purpose of the Partnership

is to develop and promote strategies to enhance health access, experience and outcomes for migrant and refugee community.

To achieve this, we support sharing of good practice and collaboration among clinicians, community, health care services, and government agencies.

We provide focus both on the capacity of clinicians and health service organisations to provide culturally responsive care, as well as on the capacity of migrant and refugee communities to understand their health and navigate the healthcare system.

The Partnership’s objectives include:

  • Supporting the implementation of the Competency Standards Framework for Clinicians Culturally responsive clinical practice: Working with people from migrant and refugee backgrounds and the Guide for Clinicians Working with Interpreters in Healthcare Settings
  • Supporting clinicians and health service organisations in providing culturally responsive care through resources
  • Promoting cultural considerations in the context of migrant and refugee communities in the design and delivery of health services
  • Identifying strategic opportunities for enhancing health and health system literacy in migrant and refugee communities;
  • Informing broader health and social policy debate and contributing to evidence development and research


Migrant and Refugee Health Partnership is auspiced by

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and funded by

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Contact us

We welcome any questions or input from our stakeholders and the broader community. These should be directed to the Secretariat of the Partnership:

Migrant and Refugee Health Partnership

46 Jardine St
Kingston ACT 2604
PO Box 4758
ACT 2604


Phone: 02 6162 0361