Mayor of­fers Val­ley refuge

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - BEN WATER­WORTH What do you think of bring­ing refugees to the Der­went Val­ley? Send your views to or Tweet @DVGazette

THE Der­went Val­ley could be used as a lo­ca­tion to set­tle refugees from Syria and Iraq, says Mayor Mar­tyn Evans.

Tas­ma­nian Premier Will Hodg­man on Satur­day an­nounced that the state would take up to 500 refugees as part of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Safe Haven En­ter­prise Visa scheme to set­tle peo­ple in re­gional ar­eas.

With the plan not de­tail­ing where the refugees would go in the state, Coun­cil­lor Evans told the Gazette that he would raise the idea of set­tling refugees in the Der­went Val­ley at next week’s coun­cil meet­ing.

“We need to have a res­o­lu­tion of coun­cil re­al­is­ti­cally around what the process would be [and] what we would do,” he said.

“I’m go­ing to com­mu­nity lead­ers to get more in­for­ma­tion too about what is re­quired and how we go about tak­ing it for­ward to our com­mu­nity as well and our elected mem­bers.”

Cr Evans said that the Der­went Val­ley should be con­sid­ered be­cause of its stand­ing as one of the most car­ing places in Tas­ma­nia.

“Our com­mu­nity is an amaz­ing com­mu­nity when we deal with times of need,” he said. “Look at bush­fires over the state. Our com­mu­nity is prob­a­bly more sup­port­ive of a cause. So it is a ques­tion that needs to be raised.

“There is al­ready the Pontville cen­tre there. I think that opens up some op­por­tu­ni­ties as well.”

Cr Evans joined com­mu­nity lead­ers from the Val­ley as well as Glenorchy and Brighton at Par­lia­ment House yesterday to meet state Op­po­si­tion Leader Bryan Green to dis­cuss the pos­si­ble re­open­ing of the for­mer asy­lum seeker de­ten­tion cen­tre at Pontville.

“The Mayor of Brighton [Tony Foster] has al­ways said that’s what it should be used for,” Cr Evans said.

Premier Hodg­man ruled out the use of “de­ten­tion style” ac­com­mo­da­tion for the Syr­ian and Iraqi refugees dur­ing his week­end an­nounce­ment, and Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott said there were no plans to re­open the cen­tre.

The cen­tre was put on the mar­ket in June af­ter it was closed as a de­ten­tion cen­tre early last year.

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