Noosa Council has joined other local governments around Australia in extending a warm welcome to refugees.
A unanimous vote of Council at last night’s Ordinary Meeting will see the shire declared a Refugee Welcome Zone.
“This simple step reinforces our intention for Noosa to be a caring, tolerant and compassionate community,” Mayor Tony Wellington said.
“Making this declaration aligns with Council’s Social Strategy as well as our recently adopted Social Justice Charter. The latter document outlines our commitment to the principles of fairness, equity and inclusiveness,” the Mayor said.
“Becoming a Refugee Welcome Zone is also an acknowledgement of the contributions that refugees have made to our country over the past two centuries. By 2010, Australia had received three quarters of a million refugees, and the economic and social contribution they have made to Australian life is incalculable.”
More than 160 local governments around the country have become Refugee Welcome Zones. Noosa is Queensland’s ninth Refugee Welcome Zone.
Developed by the Refugee Council of Australia, the initiative began in June 2002 as part of Refugee Week celebrations.
“It’s a simple gesture but a significant one,” says Mayor Wellington. “Noosa is unlikely to become a major resettlement locale for refugees. However, under the national program, this lucky country will continue to accommodate thousands of refugees each year, and we are saying any of them are welcome here in our shire.”
The Mayor acknowledged the work of the Noosa Welcomes Refugees Group and the Buddies Refugee Support Group.
“We look forward to working with both of these local groups to further raise community awareness about refugees and the challenges they face.”