Strathbogie Shire has officially become a Refugee Welcome Zone, after the declaration was signed by Mayor Amanda McClaren recently.
Cr McClaren and other councillors attended the Welcome Scroll, an initiative of Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR), in Euroa last month to celebrate the endorsement of the initiative.
Becoming a Welcome Zone is a commitment to embracing and showing compassion and empathy to refugees who integrate into the community, which is central to council’s vision of building flourishing communities and the values of respect and inclusion driving the new council plan.
Cr McClaren said she was honoured to officially adopt the initiative.
‘‘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.
Cr McClaren said the declaration was also ‘‘an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions refugees have made to Australian society.’’
The pledge also promotes cultural and religious diversity and builds social cohesion throughout the community.
‘‘One of the biggest strengths of our shire is its strong sense of community and this commitment further acknowledges that we are a welcoming, friendly and inclusive place to live and work,’’ Cr McClaren said.