Media Release New asylum seeker and refugee health hub announced

Cabrini has announced the development of an asylum seeker and refugee health hub, a much needed service in Melbourne’s inner-north. The new service, located on the ground floor at 503 Sydney Road in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick, will provide healthcare services for asylum seekers and refugees.

“Cabrini is committed to making a difference to the disadvantage faced by asylum seekers and refugees,” says Dr Michael Walsh, Chief Executive of Cabrini. “We believe that working collaboratively is the most effective way to address disadvantage and will lead to the best health outcomes for the people we want to serve.”

Victoria has one of the highest asylum seeker and refugee settlement numbers in Australia. Many asylum seekers in our community have neither work rights nor access to government benefits such as Medicare, Centrelink, housing or emergency relief.

“Our approach is based on strong partnerships with public and private hospitals, community health agencies, asylum seeker/refugee services and others who want to make a difference to the plight of asylum seekers and refugees,” said Dr Walsh. “We are grateful to the many agencies who have supported the concept and look forward to others joining with us over time to enhance our capacity.”

Initial services will begin in May 2016 with GP clinics and specialist mental health services to be offered first. Chronic disease management, maternal and child health and infectious disease management, as well as social, emotional and spiritual support services, will follow.

“Clustering these services in one location will enhance access and facilitate a person-centred, integrated approach to primary and specialist care for this vulnerable group,” said Dr Walsh.

The Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub will complement health services offered by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne’s west and Monash Health in the southern suburbs. Medicare-ineligible asylum seekers will be given priority access to our services, at no cost.

Lentara UnitingCare’s asylum seeker program is located on the first floor of the same building as the Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub and is well placed to support the initiative by providing referrals, advice and other support. Lentara’s Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre and Baptcare’s Sanctuary residence for asylum seekers and refugees are also located nearby. Greg Wilkinson, General Manager of Community Services at Lentara UnitingCare, welcomes the Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub, saying it complements and enhances services it currently offers. “The provision of healthcare to asylum seekers is much needed and adds to the suite of services already being provided by Lentara UnitingCare and other agencies to asylum seekers residing in metropolitan Melbourne,” he said.

About Cabrini

Cabrini is a Catholic, charitable institution sponsored by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This order was founded by Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini who was proclaimed Universal Patron Saint of Immigrants because of her lifetime’s work with immigrants. Founded in 1948, Cabrini’s services in Australia now span aged care, cancer care, cardiac services, children’s care, emergency care, health promotion, home/community-based care, maternity services, palliative care, rehabilitation, research and education, as well as social and community outreach services. Two divisions provide services for Cabrini and other clients: Cabrini Linen Service, located in Dandenong South, and Cabrini Technology, which provides information and healthcare technology services to the health, disability and aged-care sectors in Australasia. For more information visit

About Lentara UnitingCare

Lentara UnitingCare is a not-for-profit agency in Victoria and part of the Uniting Church of Australia. UnitingCare Australia is one of the largest providers of community services supporting more than 2 million Australians each year. Lentara supports some of the most vulnerable people in accessing the resources they need for their health, wellbeing and participation in their local community.

Media information: contact Christine Elmer ph (03) 9508 3551 or 0459 811 693 or Jackie Meiers ph (03) 9508 3552 or 0419 009 146.