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Council adopts refugee action plan for shire

Cr Henderson, Professor Triggs and Bev Campbell at a Refugee Week event.

Council has endorsed a refugee welcome plan for the shire.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Mount Alexander Shire Council last night endorsed a refugee action plan that aims to develop a welcoming, supportive and socially inclusive community.

The Mount Alexander Refugee Welcome Zone Action Plan 2018-2021 was developed in partnership with Rural Australians for Refugees Castlemaine and Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services.

“The plan identifies 17 actions to be delivered in partnership with local service providers and community groups,” said Mount Alexander Shire Mayor Bronwen Machin.

“It outlines a collaborative approach to connecting refugees to employment, education, housing and health services that will also help ensure support structures are established for all culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) members in our community.”

Actions in the plan come under the themes of partnerships, policy, information and resources and activities. They were informed by the outcomes of two community forums, consultation with local refugees, asylum seekers and stakeholders, national and state policy, and the Australian standards for welcoming cities.

Priority actions include participating in networks to address issues for refugee and asylum seekers, promoting and delivering on the shire’s commitment to being a Refugee Welcome Zone, nominating postcodes in the shire for Safe Haven Enterprise Visa holders, encouraging local service providers to register with a national translating and interpreting service, and establishing support networks and services for refugees and asylum seekers who move to the area.

Council will facilitate a working group to monitor and evaluate implementation of the plan, including an annual review process to identify emerging needs.

Council endorsed a Statement of Commitment to being a Refugee Welcome Zone in 2014, that commits them in spirit to welcoming refugees into the community, upholding the human rights of refugees, demonstrating compassion for refugees, and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in our community.

“This action plan is the culmination of a few years of work and we are confident it will help us deliver on our commitment to being a Refugee Welcome Zone by working in partnership with the community and other service providers,” said Mayor Machin.

The adoption of the plan was an action in this year’s annual plan, under the strategic objective of providing a welcoming place for all in the Council Plan 2017-2021.

Image: Cr Christine Henderson, human rights advocate Professor Gillian Triggs and Bev Campbell from Rural Australians for Refugees Castlemaine at the recent Refugee Week event in Castlemaine.

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