The NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS), in partnership with the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), honoured the Kaldor Centre’s storytelling project ‘Temporary’ in the 13th NSW Humanitarian Awards on Monday 21 June.

Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales, presented the award for media in a private official ceremony at Government House, Sydney.

STARTTS and RCOA noted that those honoured in the Humanitarian awards ‘have gone above and beyond in making an extraordinary difference in the lives of people from refugee backgrounds in 2021’. The media award recognises work ‘supporting, prioritising and/or raising awareness of refugee issues’.

Temporary’ tells the stories of people caught in Australia’s ‘legacy caseload’, including in a podcast co-produced with UNSW’s Centre for Ideas and Guardian Australia.

The collaborative media project reveals the hidden lives of people who fled to Australia seeking protection and instead found endless uncertainty. The series brings to the fore the voices of people caught in Australia’s asylum system and the laws that keep them in limbo. To humanise a complex policy, the podcast and website seamlessly integrate first-person human experience with expert legal explanation. 

This project places the voices of refugees and people seeking asylum front and centre, specifically those subject to the temporary protection regime affecting 30,000 people in Australia. The project has been careful to take an ethical approach that respected those who shared their stories and was sensitive to any vulnerabilities they may face. The Refugee Advice & Casework Service helped to identify and provide prospective storytellers with initial advice, then referred them for independent, third-party legal advice, to ensure their full and informed consent to participate. Artists from the Refugee Art Project illustrated some stories, while the photographers, composer, logo designer, and podcast host Sisonke Msimang all came from refugee backgrounds.

The other 2021 NSW Humanitarian Award winners are:

Refugee Community Worker
: Mohammad Reza Rostami

Highly Commended:
 Basim Shamaon

Refugee Supporter: 
Dr David Wynter

Highly Commended:
 Fiona Carr

Best Project: 
Lakemba Rohingya Interagency
Canterbury City Community Centre

Highly Commended:  SSI Care Packages, 
Paula Ben David – Settlement Services International

Abdallah Altibi

Eva Atkins, 

Rural and Regional: 
Bindee Jobe, 
Kooringal High School

Explore the ‘Temporary’ stories and podcast. The project has also earned global honours from the 2021 American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) and the Webby Awards.