“With our unique regional identity, Macedon Ranges Shire embodies a caring, resilient approach to community through our robust local economy, protection of the natural environment and a collaborative commitment to inclusivity for all.”
Much of the work done in support of the Refugee Welcome Zone within the Shire is undertaken by the Macedon Ranges Rural Australians for Refugees (MRRAR). Council is very proud to have a community group such as MRRAR undertaking this work.
MRRAR is very active and has been supporting the plight of refugees for a number of years. They have been active in the community since 2006 and have a number of members to support their activities.
Group members, consisting of local residents across the Shire are involved in different portfolio areas which include, fundraising, publicity, grocery collections, furniture/white goods collection, a major raffle, material support, and awareness raising. Since 2018, when Council became signatories to the RWZ, the group has continued to be active; switching to online activities during the COVID Pandemic lockdown periods. The following is a snapshot of those events.
22/06/2018 – Film Night - Welcome - Woodend
23/06/2018 – Refugee Foodbank Collection and BBQ – Woodend and Gisborne
19/07/2018 – Vigil: 5 years too long, 12 deaths too many – Woodend
07/10/2018 – MRRAR Tamil Feast Luncheon – Woodend
16/11/2018 – Film Night Fundraiser Human Flow - Woodend
24/11/2018 – MRRAR Christmas Food Bank Collection – Gisborne
08/12/2018 – MRRAR Christmas Food Bank Collection – Woodend
22/03/2019 – Film Night - The Staging Post – Woodend
15/06/2019 – Film Night – Constance on the Edge – Woodend
29/06/2019 – Film Night – Constance on the Edge – Gisborne
25/10/2019 – Film Night – Freedom Stories – Woodend
07/12/2019 – Charitable Christmas Concert – Woodend Library
25/06/2021 – Film Night – Border Politics – Woodend
26/06/2021 – Cake Stall Fundraiser – Woodend
26/06/2021 – Wood Raffle – Online Event
28/08/2021 – Wood Raffle – Online Event
18/09/2021 – Cake and Produce Stall Fundraiser – Woodend
13/11/2021 – Plant Sale Fundraiser – Woodend
11/12/2021 – Grocery Collection and Sausage Sizzle – Woodend
29/01/2022 – BBQ Lancefield Farmers Market
29/01/2022 – Promotion of Worldwide premier online event – Freedom Street Documentary
07/03/2022 – Visit to Sacred Heart College Kyneton by Gregory Clark MRRAR and donation of book “Seeking Asylum – Our stories”
12/03/2022 – Guest Speaker, Christine Cummins – True Stories from Christmas Island – Woodend
02/04/2022 – Don Watson, author – Conversations in Woodend
06/04/2022 – online RAR Webinar Justice and Freedom for Refugees – promoted via social media on MRRAR FB Page.
10/04/2022 – Walk for Justice and Freedom for Refugees – promoted via social media on MRRAR FB
MRRAR has provided support to individuals and families and those organisations whose sole objective is to support Asylum Seekers and Refugees. Organisations that have been supported include Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project (BASP), Friends of Refugees (Springvale), Refugee Legal, and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC). Fundraising is divided between the first two organisations.
Other than MRRAR, Council continues to have direct contact with local Neighbourhood Houses and Service Groups, including Rotary and Lions Clubs. Whilst there has been little actively by these groups in any Refugee Welcome Zone activities, there is strong support to collaborate and become involved in future events and activities now that COVID restrictions are no longer in place.
Council will continue to build on its relationship with MRRAR and other groups and organisations in the Shire, to collaborate and partner, engage, and educate and support the Refugee Welcome Zone in a meaningful way.