Strathbogie Shire Council

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Strathbogie Shire a Refugee Welcome Zone

Wednesday, 2 August, 2017

Strathbogie Shire has officially become a Refugee Welcome Zone, after the declaration was signed by Mayor Amanda McClaren recently.

The initiative was developed by the Refugee Council of Australia in 2002 and there are now over 140 official Welcome Zones across the country, 40 of which are Victorian.

Mayor Amanda McClaren and her fellow Councillors attended the Welcome Scroll, an initiative of Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR), when it came to Euroa on Tuesday 4 July to celebrate the endorsement of the initiative.

Becoming a Welcome Zone is a commitment to embracing and showing compassion and empathy to refugees who integrate into the community.

This is central to Council’s vision of building flourishing communities and the values of respect and inclusion driving the new Council Plan.

The drive to support this initiative came from Council’s consultation sessions through their ‘Let’s Talk- We are Listening’ campaign held earlier this year.

Cr McClaren said she was honoured to officially adopt the community driven initiative.

"It became clear through the conversation cafes held in the eight townships that becoming a Refugee Welcome Zone was something incredibly important to the Strathbogie Shire community," she said.

Cr McClaren explained that this declaration is also "an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions refugees have made to Australian society."

The pledge also promotes cultural and religious diversity and builds social cohesion throughout the community.

"One of the biggest strengths of our Shire is its strong sense of community and this commitment further acknowledges that we are a welcoming, friendly and inclusive place to live and work," Cr McClaren said.

Ruth Fluhr, coordinator of the Strathbogie Shire RAR said "a friendly, helping hand makes a huge difference in the transition of people to a new, productive life in a new country."

"Diversity within community is a true strength, and Strathbogie Shire stands to receive many gifts in extending a welcome to people with an urgent desire to improve their lives and to contribute to their new community," Ruth said.



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