The City of Casey is a proud signatory to the Refugee Welcome Zone and has been since 2013.
The Casey Context
The City of Casey is the most populous and second fastest growing Local Government Area (LGA) in Victoria. With an estimated population of more than 390,000 in 2023, Casey is a destination for many refugees and asylum seekers who have resettled in Australia, making it one of the most diverse municipalities in Victoria. The population growth in the region can be attributed to various factors, including relatively affordable housing, infrastructure development, and its proximity to Melbourne’s central business district. Casey has welcomed refugees and asylum seekers from diverse backgrounds, including countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and Somalia.
Casey is considered as one of the eight settlement cities across Australia, those being LGAs which settle a large share of refugees during their first years of life in Australia. Over the past decade, Casey has been in the top destinations for humanitarian arrivals in Australia. More than half of Casey’s total humanitarian settlement recorded over the past thirty years have arrived in the last ten years (Edmund Rice Centre, 2022).
As of June 2022, Casey was chosen as the first place of settlement by 8% (1,526 people) of Unauthorised Maritime Arrival Bridging Visa E (UMA BE) visa holders across Victoria.
Within Casey, the suburbs where most have settled are Doveton, Eumemmering, Hampton Park, Hallam, Cranbourne and surrounds, and Endeavour Hills. (DHA, 2022)
Council’s Commitment and Action
The City of Casey is home to a remarkable diversity of cultures, languages, faiths, identities, landscapes, and stories. From our first Australians to our most recent arrivals and every wave between, the City of Casey welcomes and represents all community members and their respective ambitions to live healthy, rewarding, and happy lives.
These intersecting and overlapping community stories form Casey’s collective identity and contribute to its evolving, rich history. We recognise this diversity as our strength and we aim to share, nurture, and celebrate it.
Community Vision 2031
Council’s Long-Term Community Vision 2031, informed by Council’s largest ever community engagement program, defines the community’s aspirations for the future of the municipality. Our overarching vision is to ‘become a more connected, bold and resilient community’ and how we plan to deliver on that is outlined in our guiding statements which include:
· Welcoming environments that encourage social and cultural connection.
· Strengthened culture of collaboration, partnerships, and community-led networks.
Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2021-2025
Council’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy outlines health and wellbeing priorities for the City of Casey and includes Objective 5.2: ‘embed a culture of respect, inclusion and celebration of diversity in Council and the community’.
Actions in our community
· We acknowledge and celebrate the remarkable achievements and contributions of our refugee residents who have chosen to call Casey their home by inviting guest speakers from refugee backgrounds at our citizenship ceremony during refugee week.
· We fund and support community groups to organise community-based initiatives assisting refugees, people seeking asylum and CALD communities.
· Council plays a critical role in referrals and connecting community organisations and support services to assist refugees and asylum seekers with their settlement process. These organisations provide various services such as language support, employment assistance, education, healthcare, and social integration programs, helping newcomers to adapt to their new surroundings and rebuild their lives.
· We actively support the ‘Back Your Neighbour Campaign’ and Local Government Mayoral Taskforce since 2018 advocating for the rights of people seeking asylum to the Federal and Victorian State Government.
Settlement Cities research
Casey is one of the seven LGAs part of the largest place-based study in Australia’s major refugee settlement destinations. The study was conducted by Edmund Rice Centre with members of the reference group which included Casey representatives.
The study was conducted in consultation with local community organisations, community leaders, individuals from refugee communities.
Casey acknowledged the key findings and committed to supporting the recommendations from the report for making our community welcoming for refugee communities.
Local Government Mayoral Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum
Casey along with 38 local councils and community ambassadors nationwide formed the ‘Local Government Mayoral Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum’ in 2018 advocating for the rights of people seeking asylum to the Federal and Victorian Government.
The Mayoral Taskforce advocates for a fairer and swifter Refugee Status Determination System.