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Council rolls out the welcome mat to refugees

26 February 2021

Southern Downs Regional Council officially honoured its commitment as an inclusive and multicultural community after it voted to sign-on as a Refugee Welcome Zone (RWZ) at today’s Ordinary Meeting.

Council embraced the Southern Downs Refugee and Migrant Network’s invitation from 20 January 2021 to join the RWZ initiative, and the region will now formally become a local government area committed 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 the community.

Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said that given the region’s legacy of rich multicultural heritage and innate welcoming nature, it was a privilege to embrace the RWZ initiative and support refugees.

“Our region has a long history of migrant settlement which has led to our region’s tapestry of diverse and progressive culture, and we have always whole-heartedly welcomed people of all backgrounds to the Southern Downs,” Mayor Pennisi said.

“In the spirit of inclusiveness across all community groups, we are proud to share our region and support the men, women and children who make the journey to Australia to seek our protection and start a new life here.

“The Southern Downs is a great place to live, work, play and stay and we welcome and acknowledge the contributions of the refugees who chose to make the Southern Downs their home.”

The RWZ is an initiative of the Refugee Council of Australia and began in June 2002 as part of Refugee Week celebrations.

There are currently 168 Refugee Welcome Zones in Australia, and the region joins the ranks with eight other local government areas including Brisbane City Council, Diamantina Shire Council, Flinders Shire Council, Ipswich City Council, Logan City Council, Mackay Regional Council, Toowoomba Regional Council and Townsville City Council.

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