A long tradition of welcoming refugees and migrants Fairfield City is a uniquely vibrant and compassionate community. The City is home to many refugees and asylum seekers and continues to welcome new migrants. The population of Fairfield City is over 200,00 with over 60% of people being born overseas and 79.4% of households speaking a language other than English.
Fairfield City Council acknowledges that migrants and refugees need to see that society accepts their culture as equal and valid – it is a prerequisite to being able to function as a part of it. Being accepted, expressing identity through cultural maintenance activities, sharing traditions, and being in the company of people who put you at ease, whilst helping you to navigate change is vital to an effective settlement process.
Networks and Interagencies
Fairfield City Council convenes and/or supports a number of local forums, networks and interagencies to give a platform and a voice to the community. It is by working in partnership and encouraging collaboration between agencies that Council’s Community Project Officer – Multicultural can make the most of resources to enhance services and opportunities to the community. Priority areas include: settlement, education and employment, health, and strengthening the ‘soft infrastructure’ to best support refugee and migrant communities.
The Fairfield Migrant Interagency (FMI) addresses the settlement needs and issues of migrants and refugees living in Fairfield City. FMI is comprised of more than 190 member agencies from local ethnic groups, neighbourhood centres and government and non-government organisations. At monthly meetings, FMI members discuss issues, propose strategies to improve client services and actively represent the needs of people from CALD backgrounds.
Council’s Multicultural Advisory Committee (MAC) aims to provide informed strategic advice and make recommendations to Council on issues affecting the multicultural communities in Fairfield Local Government Area. It is also a mechanism for consultation to develop ways in which Council’s services and other local information can be more accessible to multicultural communities.
The Fairfield City Settlement Action Plan has been developed to help guide the work being carried out by service organisations who are involved in the settlement of refugees. It outlines issues and challenges associated with refugee settlement and aims to identify solutions and actions to help address those issues. It will also provide a more coordinated and collaborative strategic approach to settlement services in Fairfield City.
Council is committed to skilling up and building the capacity of new and emerging and small ethnic organisations to support their role as community advocates. Some of the workshops and training provided in the past two years are:
Events and celebrations
Council also supports local organisations with celebrations and events that are self-determined and encourage community participation and community cohesion. Annual events regularly supported by Council include Refugee Week and Harmony Day.