A time to support our refugee and asylum seeker population

A time to support our refugee and asylum seeker population

Recent events in Afghanistan are a timely reminder of how important it is to embrace and support refugees and people seeking asylum in our community.  

Ballarat is home for a small number of Hazara Afghans who have made their lives here and are now embedded in our community. 

The City of Ballarat is well positioned to provide support for this critical sector of our community as a Refugee Welcome Zone, an Intercultural City, a Welcoming City and a member of Mayors for Peace.   

City of Ballarat Mayor, Daniel Moloney said that Ballarat had benefited enormously from its multicultural community, and it was essential that the city continued to advocate for accepting and supporting a diverse multicultural community, particularly in this case those Afghans and Hazaras who have found sanctuary in Ballarat 

“Ballarat is a growth city and an important part of the foundation for growth is ensuring we welcome and provide the necessary support platforms for our multicultural community,” Cr Moloney said. 

“The recent events in Afghanistan serve as a timely reminder of how tough life can be for anyone coming to a new country and making a new start; often leaving loved ones behind in tenuous circumstances.” 

Cr Moloney has recently written to the local Hazara community expressing support and empathy, he has also written to the Prime Minister and other Ministers in Federal Government extending the City’s support and making a commitment to work in partnership with all levels of Government. 

The City of Ballarat is involved in a range of partnerships and networks that provide key services to asylum seekers and refugees.  

Council also funds projects and activities by community groups and organisations that support multicultural groups and advocates for appropriate services that support the needs of these groups.  

“We will continue to engage with our multicultural community leaders and representatives and will support the critical work of the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council (BRMC), Rural Australians for Refugees – Ballarat Chapter (RAR), Ballarat Community Health (BCH) and associated agencies as they address and respond to the needs of all our local multicultural communities,” Cr Moloney said.  

The City of Ballarat has several current initiatives that are assisting multicultural communities to come together. These include the Intercultural Employment Pathways Program that offers support for those seeking education, training and employment opportunities and the Intercultural Ambassador Program which provides advocacy and support through community projects. 

“Ballarat is a Refugee Welcome Zone and supports the Refugee Council of Australia,” Cr Moloney said. 

“We will stand in solidarity with Ballarat Rural Australians for Refugees, and the extensive network supporting refugees and people seeking asylum in Ballarat. We also endorse the work of the Federation of the Ethnic Communities’ Councils in Australia (FECCA), Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC), Ethnic Communities’ Council of Victoria (ECCV) and various businesses that support our government’s existing efforts to help people evacuate Afghanistan.” 

“We are all proud to have a terrific multicultural community that brings fresh ideas and creativity in abundance to our city.  Our city is all the richer for the advantages that this diversity brings, and it is essential in such hard times that we embrace and support the Afghan community of Ballarat as they have embraced us.”