Refugees wel­comed in shire

Benalla Ensign - - Letters To The Editor -

The Strath­bo­gie Shire Coun­cil has made a com­mit­ment — in spirit — to wel­come refugees into the com­mu­nity af­ter re­cently sign­ing the Wel­come Scroll, an ini­tia­tive of Ru­ral Aus­tralians for Refugees (RAR).

Strath­bo­gie Shire Coun­cil mayor Amanda McClaren said sign­ing the pledge was about be­ing a wel­com­ing and com­pas­sion­ate com­mu­nity for refugees.

Cr McClaren said the drive to sup­port the ini­tia­tive — de­vel­oped by the Refugee Coun­cil of Aus­tralia in 2002 — came from the coun­cil’s con­sul­ta­tion ses­sions ear­lier this year.

‘‘It be­came clear through the con­ver­sa­tion cafes held in the eight town­ships that be­com­ing a Refugee Wel­come Zone was some­thing in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant to the Strath­bo­gie Shire com­mu­nity,’’ she said.

Strath­bo­gie Shire RAR co- or­di­na­tor Ruth Fluhr said a friendly, help­ing hand made a huge dif­fer­ence in the tran­si­tion of peo­ple to a new, pro­duc­tive life in a new coun­try.

‘‘ Di­ver­sity within com­mu­nity is a true strength, and Strath­bo­gie Shire stands to re­ceive many gifts in ex­tend­ing a wel­come to peo­ple with an ur­gent de­sire to im­prove their lives and to con­trib­ute to their new com­mu­nity,’’ she said.

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