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Refugees are welcome in Palerang

Last month Palerang became something like the 100th local council in Australia to pledge to lead the way in the local community in making refugees welcome.

Refugee Council of Australia chief executive Paul Power was on hand in Bungendore for the signing (on left in photo with Mayor Pete Harrison and Councillor Belinda Hogarth-Boyd). He said a Refugee Welcome Zone is a local government area that commits to welcoming refugees and acknowledges the positive contribution they make to society.

“Since Federation, Australia has welcomed more than 800,000 refugees and local councils have a proud history of helping support the settlement of refugees who have gone on to make their mark in our economic, cultural and social life.

“While the national political debate about refugee policy can at times be quite toxic, at the local level many councils are getting on with the job of welcoming new arrivals, promoting people-to-people links and building social harmony,” said Power.

“Activities introduced by local councils include partnerships with community groups and service providers, Refugee Week and Harmony Week events, public forums, living libraries and community-based projects.” Power encouraged more local councils to consider becoming a Refugee Welcome Zone.

Further information about Refugee Welcome Zones is available at http://refugeecouncil.org.au/g/rwz.php

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