Media Release: A Multicultural Integrated Space: Child, Youth, and Families Conference Shines a Light on Inclusive Support Strategies

For Immediate Release: 30 August 2023

The Child, Youth, and Families Conference: A Multicultural Integrated Space is set to take place on September 6th, 2023, at the Holiday Inn in Warwick Farm. Hosted by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice in collaboration with CORE Community Services, this significant event is poised to bring together a diverse assembly of practitioners, researchers, policymakers, and community advocates, all dedicated to enhancing the lives of children, youth, and families within multicultural communities.


Media Release: Harness the skills and experience of migrants and refugees to meet workforce needs in South West Sydney

Some of the critical elements required to meet South West Sydney’s economic and employment needs were the subject of a wide-ranging discussion among experts at a gathering in Sydney this week.

CORE Community Services, a not-for-profit profit organisation operating in the region, released its South West Sydney Employment Snapshot Report 2023, to business and community leaders at a breakfast function at Warwick Farm.

The Snapshot Report provides an overview of South West Sydney’s employment area and growth priorities, with a focus on emerging trends in two areas of its operations – Refugee and Migrant Settlement Services, and Aged and Disability Care.

“With over a million people living in South West Sydney, there is an urgent need to harness the people and the skills are already in the region if we are to deliver vital services to the community,” the CEO of CORE Community Services, Juana Reinoso said.

Approximately 80 people from a wide cross section of business, not-for-profit and community organisations gathered to hear speakers, including:

  • Juana Reinoso, Chief Executive Officer, CORE Community Services
  • Tom Nance, Manager of Strategy and Delivery, Western Sydney University
  • Scott Hudson, Chief Executive Officer, Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club
  • Amanda Larkin, Chief Executive Officer, South Western Sydney Local Health District
  • Nhu Tran, Aged and Disability Care Service Manager, CORE Community Services
  • Shama Pande, Manager of Multicultural Communities, CORE Community Services

The meeting heard that demographic changes will place heavy demands on already stretched service providers. South West Sydney already has a higher proportion of aged care recipients needing assistance than the average for NSW, and this is expected to increase by about 74% by 2031.

Yet, aged care is widely perceived to be a low status job with a low rate of pay. Currently, the supply of workers relies heavily on an international and migrant workforce which has been severely curtailed due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

South West Sydney has a rich multicultural fabric, with a large number of migrants and refugees residing in the area.

“Refugees and migrants bring a wealth of knowledge and professional experience acquired from their home countries,” Shama Pande, Manager of Multicultural Communities at CORE said.

“Yet many are not able to gain recognition for their qualifications and end up working in low skilled jobs or in positions well below their ability.

“We have identified nearly 30% of refugees and migrants with transferrable skills acquired in their country of origin, however due to tedious and costly processes, they find it difficult to work independently in Australia,” Ms Pande said.

The meeting also heard of the need to better recognise the importance of migrant and refugee women who can add significantly to workforce needs.

CORE is urging greater collaboration between service providers, educational institutions and employers to help people upskill, gain new skills and find pathways into employment.

The meeting heard of one collaboration – the Pathways for Refugees into Health initiative, a partnership between CORE Community Services, TAFE NSW, and the South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD). This aims to create pathways for refugees to enter the healthcare industry by providing specialised training, support and employment opportunities.

Another initiative involves a partnership between CORE Community Services and Western Sydney University to support overseas qualified medical GPs.

As a way of better incentivising employment, it was suggested that policymakers could consider implementing earned income tax credits, wage subsidies, or targeted financial assistance programs to provide additional income support for individuals who secure employment. These incentives could bridge the gap between welfare benefits and earnings, ensuring that individuals are financially better off by working.

Offering access to training programs, skill development initiatives, and career advancement opportunities would also empower individuals to enhance their employability and increase their earnings potential, further incentivising work over long-term reliance on welfare.

Link to PDF

Media contact:
Jenny Liem
0427 864 445


Media Release: A welcome step in protecting temporary migrant workers from exploitation

The federal government has taken a positive step in addressing a key weakness in Australia’s migration system, with the decision today to crack down on the exploitation of low-paid temporary migrant workers.

CORE Community Services has welcomed the decision to introduce measures that will protect temporary visa holders from exploitation by employers and ensure they are not jeopardised by speaking out.

The Chief Executive Officer of CORE, Juana Reinoso, said the proposed measures recognise the vulnerable situation of many temporary visa holders who may not be fully aware of all their employment rights and, in any case, are frequently not in a position to speak out for fear of losing their job.

“It is entirely unacceptable that so many migrant workers are being paid below the minimum wage and that this has been allowed to persist for so long.

“These are people who have come to Australia, often in the most difficult circumstances, and may not be aware of their rights. Speaking up can mean risking their income, employment and even their right to stay in Australia.

“Employers who knowingly exploit these vulnerable people need to be called out, and protections put in place to ensure that coercion and intimidation have no part in the way we treat migrants, refugees and others on temporary visas,” Ms Reinoso said.

It is estimated that one in six migrant workers are paid below the minimum wage. The proposed measures will:

  • Make it a criminal offense to coerce someone into breaching their visa condition;
  • Introduce prohibition notices to stop employers from further hiring people on temporary visas where they have exploited migrants;
  • Increase penalties and new compliance tools to deter exploitation; and
  • Repeal section 235 of the Migration Act which actively undermines people reporting exploitative behaviour.

CORE Community Services is one of the largest settlement service providers in the Fairfield Local Government Area of NSW, which takes in the largest proportion of new arrivals in Australia.

“We are currently seeing unprecedented demand on our services as a result of cost-of-living issues, and this is compounded in circumstances where people are suffering because of unacceptable wages or conditions,” Ms Reinoso said.

“Arriving in a new country can be extremely challenging in dealing with issues such as housing, healthcare, child care and education. That burden is compounded when low-paid temporary migrant workers face exploitation, under-pay mentor intimidation at work.”

Link to Media Release


Media Release: Australia’s migration overhaul must focus on empowering people and communities

Australia’s migration system must continue to place an emphasis on permanent settlement by enabling migrants to reach their full potential and make a valuable contribution to their communities.

CORE Community Services, one of the largest settlement service providers in the Fairfield LGA which takes in the biggest proportion of new arrivals in Australia , has welcomed the overhaul and strategic review of the migration system announced today by the Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security, Clare O’Neil.

The Chief Executive Officer of CORE, Juana Reinoso, said the migration review final report provides a solid framework to build better pathways for migrants and improved connections with communities and services in Australia.

“Immigration plays a key part in the creation of dynamic economies, social cohesion, new cultures, and fresh ways of looking at the world.

“Australia’s migration system has a long history of success, but it is time to look again at how we can facilitate migrant arrival and help to establish the valuable social connections for migrants in the areas where they settle and work.

“Unfortunately, there are still too many new arrivals who struggle through lack of adequate support and the challenge of access to basic services such as housing, healthcare, childcare and education. There is the need for appropriate funding and having the connection to place-based organisations.” Ms Reinoso said.

CORE believes that migration can play a larger role in Australia’s economic and social development, especially in a climate where Australia is competing with other advanced economies in attracting overseas talent and capital.

For too long, many people have been left in a state of limbo, unable to gain citizenship because of a mix of administrative complexity and inflexible rules. One of the key priorities must be getting people off temporary visa status and on to a more permanent footing where they can contribute and enjoy the benefits of citizenship.

As the report notes, permanence and citizenship must be the hallmarks of our system, not one that leaves people stranded in temporary migration.

Those with overseas qualifications can face a bewildering maze of bureaucratic and industry red tape in having qualifications recognised.

Minister O’Neil describes the system as “broken” and says it requires wholesale reform.

Australia’s long and successful history of migration has played a key part in building diverse workforce skills and community engagement.

CORE welcomes the Minister’s commitment to reform and looks forward to bringing its expertise to the discussion so that many more people have the opportunity to settle in Australia, educate their children and play an active and productive part in their communities.

Link to PDF


CORE Community Services Stands with Syria and Turkey Following Earthquake Tragedy

CORE Community Services expresses its deep condolences to the families and communities affected by the devastating earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey. Our thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy, and we stand in solidarity with the people of both countries as they work to recover from the disaster. We understand that many in Australia’s Syrian and Turkish communities are fearful for their loved ones and are already donating to charities in the area.


Multicultural Communities relocation

CORE Community Services, Multicultural Communities located at level 1, 39-41 Harris Street will be relocating to CORE Community Services, 32-36 Harris Street, Fairfield (across the road).

The move will take place between 17th January 2023 – 20th January. During this time services will be temporarily limited, we apologise for this inconvenience.

We will officially start operating from 32-36 Harris Street, Fairfield NSW 2165 from 23rd January 2023.

We appreciate your understanding.

Multicultural Communities relocation


Media Release: Experts convene to examine solutions to the housing crisis in south-west Sydney

27 July 2023

A series of fresh ideas for tackling the issue of housing and homelessness have been canvassed by a group of experts as part of a cross-community collaboration in south-western Sydney.

Some of the most-impacted community organisations took part in a webinar on July 19 to examine impacts and discuss possible solutions to the housing crisis, with more than 100 registered attendees.

The session was hosted by CORE Community Services and featured a panel comprising:

  • Charishma Kaliyanda MP, Member for Liverpool
  • Juana Reinoso, CEO, CORE Community Services
  • Tracy Philips, Executive Officer, Bonnie Support Services
  • Vala Ola’aiga, Manager and Co-Ordinator, South West Sydney Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service 
  • Samantha Taylor, School Social Worker, Ashcroft High School
  • Shama Pande, Multicultural Communities Manager, CORE Community Services

Ideas to emerge included a broad based housing taskforce, and the use of innovative, low-cost modular housing to provide accommodation.     

“Everyone agrees that this is a multi-faceted problem that requires all the parties to work together,” said the Chief Executive Officer of CORE, Juana Reinoso.

“It is a complex problem that has been developing over a number of years and will take time to resolve. In the meantime, we have the chance to bring new ideas to the table and work as broadly as possible across the community to help those most in need.”

The session heard from frontline service providers about the dire impacts on families and individuals from rising house prices, soaring rents and low rental vacancies.

Steep rent increases have seen many people unable to meet basic household needs such as food and heating. This has resulted in an overwhelming call on service providers for assistance.

“Many people in multicultural communities in south-western Sydney are facing a grave situation, where housing stress is impacting work and family life and their mental health and wellbeing,” Ms Reinoso said.

Tracy Philips, Executive Officer of Bonnie Support Services said that for those facing family or domestic violence, there are added difficulties in securing safe accommodation and transitioning out of crisis accommodation into the community.

“It has become increasingly difficult to demonstrate a record of rental history and  produce the evidence that is needed, which just compounds the trauma people face as they escape violent situations and try to make a fresh start,” Ms Philips said.

For many people, rental properties can be run down, infected with mould and in urgent need of attention.

“It is distressing to hear of schoolchildren and young people in crowded rooms, sometimes in unsafe environments, hungry and in need of care,” Juana Reinoso said.

“All community service providers are doing their utmost in extremely difficult circumstances.

“One of the positive outcomes from the gathering is the chance to establish a housing taskforce comprising a broad coalition of not-for-profit groups, service providers, government and private sector partners to try new approaches and to work collaboratively,” she said.

As an example, one of the innovative suggestions was a partnership with the building industry to look at low-cost modular homes that could be erected to ease some of the immediate impacts of the housing shortage,” Ms Reinoso said.

“This is a chance to build on the wonderful work that is being done and look at whether there are additional ways of dealing with one of the most challenging issues we have faced.”

– ends –


Media Release:  Celebrating Refugees Contributions and Finding Freedom

As Refugee Week begins, CORE Community Services, a leading community organisation announces its active participation and support for this significant event. With this year’s theme of “Finding Freedom,” CORE aims to highlight the remarkable contributions of refugees and promote inclusivity and harmony within society. 

Refugee Week, which takes place from 18th June to 26th June 2023, is an annual nationwide initiative that celebrates the resilience, strength, and achievements of refugees in Australia. It also provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges faced by refugees and the importance of building welcoming and supportive communities. 

At CORE Community Services, we firmly believe in the power of community engagement and the positive impact it can have on individuals and society as a whole. By embracing the diverse skills, talents, and experiences of refugees, we can foster social cohesion and create a more inclusive and harmonious Australia. 

Throughout Refugee Week, CORE Community Services will share testimonials from valued clients, who have successfully rebuilt their lives and made substantial contributions to their communities. Nouri, a refugee from Syria, expressed their gratitude, saying, “Thanks to the invaluable support of the CORE organisation and the unwavering assistance of Mr. Simon Sogora…their guidance and advocacy played a pivotal role in helping me navigate the job market and connect with relevant opportunities. Their dedication to supporting refugees like me has been instrumental in my successful integration into the workforce. Today, I am proud to contribute to my community working with Department of Communities and Justice, and I am grateful for the opportunities I have received.” 

In the last year, CORE Community Services has supported over 3,650 refugees in their settlement journey, providing essential services such as housing assistance, healthcare support, language and skills training, and employment opportunities. Our dedicated team has worked tirelessly to ensure that refugees are equipped with the necessary tools and support to thrive in their new homes. 

Juana Reinoso, CEO of CORE Community Services, expressed her enthusiasm for Refugee Week, stating, “Refugee Week is an important opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of refugees to our society. At CORE, we are committed to empowering individuals and building stronger communities through our comprehensive settlement programs. We invite everyone to join us in embracing diversity, promoting understanding, and working together towards a more inclusive Australia.” 

As a highlight of Refugee Week, CORE Community Services in conjunction with Fairfield Emerging Communities Action Partnership (FECAP) will host a community gathering and cultural celebration on 21st June 2023. The event will showcase the rich cultural heritage of refugees through music, art, dance, and traditional cuisine. It will provide an engaging platform for community members to connect, learn, and foster mutual respect and appreciation. 


Department of Health advice

Learning to live with COVID-19, we still need to take the necessary precautions to ensure we are keeping ourselves safe and protected to slow the spread.

COVID-19 poster

Together, we can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect our community.

Resources for our Arabic and Assyrian communities.


CORE Community Services Announce Sponsorship with Commonwealth Bank

Media Release For Immediate Release 4th November 2022

Core Community Services is proud to announce CommBank as a silver sponsor of the SWSDVC’s Domestic & Family Violence Conference, to be held at the Holiday Inn, Warwick Farm on 23 November 2022.

This year’s conference is focused on trauma-informed practice, which aims to highlight effective systems and methods when working with victims subjected to domestic and family violence. Lead/Key industry speakers include Dr Susan Heward-Belle; Award winning journalist Jess Hill; Psychiatrist Dr Karen Williams; Jannawi Family Centre Director Biljana Milosevic; and Sector Development Manager at Domestic Violence NSW Sarah Judd, who will inspire, educate and motivate many frontline workers, advocates and associates in attendance.

The alignment between CORE Community Services and Commonwealth Bank is clear, with both organisations dedicated to preventing violence against women and children through their support and service offerings to victim-survivors of abuse.

“CommBank’s commitment to supporting those experiencing domestic and family violence has been industry-leading through its Next Chapter program which helps build financial independence for victim-survivors of financial abuse,” said Shama Pande, Service Manager, CORE Community Services, Multicultural Communities. “It made sense for us to collaborate with CommBank as they understand the many challenges faced by communities impacted by domestic and family violence.”

“CommBank is proud to sponsor SWSDVC’s Domestic & Family Violence Conference and enable many frontline workers and services to access crucial information about best practice, especially when it comes to financial abuse,” said Malini Raj, Head of Community Engagement, Commonwealth Bank. “Being a silver sponsor demonstrates our commitment to this important cause and we stand united as a community.”

For more information about this event, please visit: