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Second Welcome Weekend a Great Success

2 November 2017

A second Welcome Weekend showcasing the Southern Grampians Shire organised through the Great South Coast Economic Migration Pilot was a great success with the migrant families, currently living in Melbourne and Adelaide, very impressed with the region.

The pilot program, which is a partnership between Leadership Great South Coast, Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development and iGen Foundation with Southern Grampians Shire Council, aims to relocate migrant families who specifically wish to work and live in rural Victoria. The aim is to work with each of the families and match them with houses and jobs specific to their skill set.

The Pilot Lead and Leadership Great South Coast Alumni Ms Carly Jordan said that ‘there were twenty people who visited the towns of Balmoral, Coleraine and Penshurst over the two days.

‘Over the weekend, the families were welcomed by members of the relevant local progress and development associations, with our towns proven to be attractive to our visiting families. The families were impressed with the offerings in our rural towns, including housing, schools and health services. The facilitated visits included a real estate tour and a farm visit.

The families were matched with homestays through the generosity of members from the Hamilton and District Rural Australians for Refugees.

‘The families are originally from Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and their backgrounds in farming would be a real asset to our communities. After living in Australia for up to 10 years, many also have Australian qualifications in childcare and aged care where labour shortages exist.’

‘We want to make sure each family has a home, a job and connection to the local community. Our community has been very welcoming and supportive of this program with many relationships with the potential new residents already formed.’ Ms Jordan said.

Southern Grampians Shire Council was the first Council to embark on the project in south west Victoria. This program has potential to form a basis for similar programs across Regional Australia. Southern Grampians Shire Council’s Mayor Cr Mary Ann Brown was delighted with how the weekend went.

“The hospitality shown by our local communities was simply fantastic and the genuine interest shown by the visiting families was very evident. They were delightful people who are very interested in coming to regional Victoria. We hope to continue working with these families to help them find jobs and settle in the region over the coming months.

Cr Brown says that this project has benefits for everyone. “Our visitors come from rural backgrounds and are looking to live in rural areas. We need population growth and in particular more families. There are also the benefits that intercultural interaction with people from different backgrounds can bring to our communities concluded Cr Brown.

Emmanuel Musoni, Chair of the Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development, has helped resettle families to Mingoola in NSW which allowed the primary school to remain open, increased the population and created a diverse community. Mr Musoni expressed that ‘Mingoola has been a fantastic example of how a program like this can be successful. Southern Grampians Shire has much to offer our families and the enthusiasm shown from the community here has been tremendous. I have no doubt that the families would be very happy to call this region home.’

The next step in the Pilot is for the families to be matched with jobs and to find them suitable housing. It is expected to have families relocated to the area by January 2018 to coincide with the start of the new school year.

For more information contact:

Carly Jordan

Project Lead, Leadership Great South Coast Alumni
M 0487 215 983

Cr Mary-Ann Brown
Mayor, Southern Grampians Shire Council
M 0429 638 245

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