Refugee Welcome Zone
Mildura Rural City Council was declared a Refugee Welcome Zone in 2002. This declaration is a public commitment in spirit to:
- Welcoming refugees in to our community
- Upholding the human rights of refugees
- Demonstrating compassion for refugees
- Enhancing cultural and religious diversity in our community
What is a Refugee Welcome Zone?
An initiative of the Refugee Council of Australia, a Refugee Welcome Zone is a Local Government Area which has made a commitment 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.
This public commitment is also an acknowledgment of the tremendous contributions refugees have made to Australian society in the fields of medicine, science, engineering, sport, education and the arts. By making this Declaration, it is hoped that local government will be encouraged in their continuing efforts to support the men, women and children who make the difficult journey to Australia to seek our protection.
Refugees in our community
The 2021 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) census recorded 56,972 people residing in the Mildura Rural City Council Local Government Area. Around 22 per cent of the local area’s population recorded that they were born overseas and 20.1 per cent of the population speak a language other than English at home.
ABS census data does not adequately capture some of our more recent arrivals, including refugee and humanitarian visa holders, as well as secondary and skilled migrants. For various reasons, many community members will not participate in the census; this is something that is being addressed through education and awareness for new and emerging communities.
2021 ABS data for Mildura may not capture the real number of community members who are living in our region who were born in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, and Malaysia.
In Mildura, the Federal Humanitarian Settlement Program is delivered by the organisation AMES Australia. Since 1998 Sunraysia Mallee Ethnic Communities Council (SMECC) has also provided a range of support services to our multicultural communities. Since March 2020, around the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic, numbers of Asylum Seekers and migrants moving to Mildura has dwindled. However, we look forward to increased numbers of new community members being welcomed here over years to come.