Coota-Gundagai endorsed as a refugee welcome zone

Mayor Abb McAlister signed the Refugee Welcome Zone declaration at Tuesday night’s ordinary council meeting.

The Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council area is now a Refugee Welcome Zone after a resolution of council at Tuesday night’s ordinary meeting.

As a newly amalgamated council in May 2016, the sitting administrator resolved Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council (CGRC) become a Refugee Welcome Zone. For reasons unknown, the certificate was signed significantly later than the making of the resolution by a former general manager in November 2017.

Mayor Abb McAlister has now signed a declaration as a recommitment to the Refugee Council of Australia.

Formed in November 1981, the Refugee Council of Australia is the national umbrella body for refugees and the organisations and individuals who support them. It has approximately 200 organisational and over 300 individual members.

There are 166 Refugee Welcome Zones nationally and 58 of these are in NSW.

Cr Leigh Bowden attended a refugee welcome zones forum online in July.

In a report to the council, Cr Bowden said it is important to note that CGRC is not a resettlement zone and that refugees who move into the area have come by choice.

“However, there are things that we can do to foster welcome and inclusion of refugees and migrants,” Cr Bowden said.

“The support and receptiveness of the host community plays an important role on the decision of refugees to move or remain in a regional area.

“It is important that refugees know that they are welcome in our LGA – both to visit and to settle.”

The declaration is a commitment in spirit to: Welcoming refugees into our community; Upholding the human rights of refugees; Demonstrating compassion for refugees; and Enhancing cultural and religious diversity in our community. 

A copy of the newly signed declaration will be displayed in each of the council’s administration centres and placed on the council’s website.

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