Wodonga Council rallies behind refugees
I have the privilege of attending citizenship ceremonies and there is not one family that is not grateful and absolutely proud to become an Australian.
Wodonga councillors unanimously supported a Refugee Community Sponsorship Program at the June Council meeting.
The program will call on the federal government to improve and expand the Community Sponsorship Program to ensure it provides adequate support and services, limits costs on sponsors, allows community to act as sponsors and creates more places for people in need of protection to settle in Australia.
Mayor Cr Anna Speedie submitted the Notice of Motion saying she had received an email from Amnesty International regarding the program.
In 2015, Wodonga Council became a signatory to the Refugee Welcome Zone, where the council made a public commitment to welcome refugees, uphold the human rights of refugees, demonstrate compassion for refugees and enhance cultural diversity.
“I have the privilege of attending citizenship ceremonies and there is not one family that is not grateful and absolutely proud to become an Australian,” Cr Speedie said.
“We can show true support for our community, which is made up of a huge number of people from different parts of the world.”
Cr Speedie also said there were five other neighbouring councils who have also put up the motion for their meetings.
Cr John Watson said the city and its surrounds had a history of welcoming refugees since post World War II.
“We have welcomed these people into our community … and we have a community that is richer for it,” Cr Watson said.
Cr Tim Quilty said he believed the sponsorship of refugees was a good thing, however, questioned the amount of taxpayer money being spent.