Refugee Council of Australia
Refugee Welcome Zones with green logo

City of Ballarat

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The City of Ballarat is located just 110km west-north-west of Melbourne in the Central Highlands of regional Victoria. The City is recognised by UNICEF and as a Child Friendly City. It has a growing population of more than 100,000 with 9,655 people born overseas, and [5,499] of households speaking a language other than English at home.
Over the past 10 years, more than 300 Sudanese refugees (to name just one group) have been welcomed to Ballarat. A recent example of their success in our community was the establishment of the Ballarat African Association (BAA). The City of Ballarat supports the Ballarat Refugee and Asylum Seeker Network (BRSNN) through advocacy and capability building initiatives support. In addition, the City endeavours to endorse its commitment to refugee resettlement by providing support to assist local culturally, linguistically and religiously diverse organisations to celebrate their cultures.

Current initiatives
The City of Ballarat has been a Refugee Welcome Zone since 3 October 2013.
The City of Ballarat in partnership with the Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council (BRMC), Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC), Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR) and the Ballarat Community Health Services (BCH) ran a Status Resolution Support Service. (SRSS): ‘Mending the Safety Net Cuts’ community conversation on 20 November 2019 discussed the implications of safety net cuts for vulnerable people seeking asylum who are excluded from mainstream Australian support services which include a small amount of income support for rent and food, subsidised medication and torture and trauma counselling. This also provided an opportunity for the local community to come together and discuss the importance of multiculturalism and human rights for a more welcoming, liveable and inclusive city.
The City of Ballarat’s Intercultural City Strategic Plan 2018-21 aims to ensure Council’s accountability to its culturally and religiously diverse community, providing services that are accessible and as culturally relevant as possible. It provides a blueprint for staff that supports best practice delivery of services to residents, businesses and visitors to Ballarat, and makes specific note of the contribution of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to our municipality.

Community Grants
The City of Ballarat is the facilitator of a range of partnerships and networks that provide services to asylum seekers and refugees. The City also funds projects and activities by community groups and organisations that support multicultural groups, and advocates for appropriate services that support the needs of refugee and asylum seeker communities for community strengthening projects, including:

• Intercultural Employment Pathways Program offering support for those seeking education, training and employment opportunities.

• Intercultural Ambassador Program which provides advocacy and support through community projects

• Celebrations marking Refugee Week and Cultural Diversity Week through the yearly delivery of Harmony Fest
• Social Inclusion activities such as AFL – Multicultural Sports Activities with the Western Bulldogs

Contact details
Phone number of Council
(035) 320-5500
The Phoenix 25 Armstrong Street South
Ballarat, Victoria 3350

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