Moreland community is highly diverse, with many migrants settling in our municipality and building a new life. People from refugee backgrounds including the first wave of post-war migrants and displaced persons arriving in local areas since 1947 and others from many parts of the world including Lebanon Turkey and South Asia arrived in Moreland subsequently.
In 2016, 33.9% of people in the City of Moreland were born overseas, compared with 33.7% in Greater Melbourne.
Patterns of migration in Moreland are changing as more people from the Indian Subcontinent and the surrounding locations such as Nepal are settling in Moreland.
The largest changes in birthplace countries of the population in this area between 2011 and 2016 were for those born in:
- Pakistan (+1,639 persons)
- Nepal (+1,096 persons)
- Italy (-1,068 persons)
- New Zealand (+697 persons)
Moreland Council has been a refugee welcome zone since 2003 and is active in supporting and advocating for refugees since. We display welcome banners at Coburg Town Hall to welcome people of refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds.
We recognise contributions by Migrant and Refugee communities to Moreland’s economic, social and cultural life and it is important for Council to support recent waves of migrants and refugee communities, so they too can settle well and build a successful new home in our municipality.
Moreland is also a hub for a number of key asylum seeker services, they include Brunswick Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre, Cabrini Asylum Seeker Health Service, Salvation Army Asylum Seeker Service, and Bapt Care Asylum Seeker services.
Council will continue to work with local service providers, by, funding and resourcing and partnering with services whenever possible.
Celebrating Refugee Week
Refugee Week is a time to acknowledge the challenges people from refugee backgrounds face and to celebrate their lives and the contributions they make to our society. Moreland Council acknowledges and celebrates refugee week each year, usually in partnership with local refugees and organisations that advocate for refugee rights.
COVID pandemic and lockdowns meant many people seeking asylum needed additional support including material aid, housing assistance and tenancy-related support. Council was responsible for coordinating Moreland food and material aid network of over 25 organisations, ensuring that pandemic support needs were addressed, and food relief was provided to those who needed it most.
Council also provided pandemic support grants to local organisations.
Housing issues and tenancy issues were addressed by Northern Legal Centre, Melbourne in partnership and through funding from Council.
Council’s Coburg kitchen was used by local groups to prepare meals, similarly, Council-funded social cohesion projects were responsible for food and material aid distribution in local neighbourhoods.
Department of Families, Fairness and Housing Local Partnership Program – Multicultural Coronavirus (COVID-19) response enabled funding brokered through Moreland Council to Brunswick Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre. This funding was used to provide the following services:
- Giving out RAT test kits via Foodbank appointments
- Information provision, primarily about boosters and children’s vaccinations, reducing risk
- Supplying support and advice over the phone to people who were COVID positive or a close contact and isolating. A lot of children contract COVID when returning to school, this has affected families financially and emotionally immensely
- Delivering food hampers or supplying online vouchers to clients who are isolating because of COVID
- Proving food hampers and vouchers to 450 people seeking asylum around Melbourne
- Distributing information about vaccine hubs and other resources in community languages
- Other activities, including re-opening the services to in-person visits including group work, continued to run online social programs, education and employment support, direct client support including referrals to access financial aid, etc.
Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees
Moreland Council supports the annual Palm Sunday Rally, organised by various church organisations, and community organisations/ advocacy groups.
It supports advocates for human rights and dignity for those seeking asylum, many of whom are in Australia, and in our own neighbourhoods seeking protection and shelter from human rights violations, and war crimes-related atrocities in their homelands.
The rally recognises the large numbers of refugees and people seeking asylum living in our community, but remain in limbo on bridging visas, or temporary visas, some in indefinite detention, many without adequate income support and access to adequate services.
Back Your Neighbour Campaign
Back your Neighbour Campaign is a campaign instigated by the Victorian Mayoral task force on People Seeking Asylum.
As part of the Back Your Neighbour Campaign, the Local Government Mayoral Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum advocates for the rights of asylum seekers to have basic services and the timely processing of asylum seeker applications.
The task force includes Mayors and Councillors from over 39 councils across Australia. In March 2022, a delegation of councillors, including Moreland Mayor Cr Mark Riley, visited Canberra to speak with members of parliament and present the campaign’s objectives and clarify policies of major political parties.
Back Your Neighbour policies/ requests:
- Urgently move to clear the backlog of refugee claims and appeals
- Provide access to Centrelink, Medicare, employment support and other services
- Reform Australia’s humanitarian protection system to create a single Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process with an independent, timely and fair merits review
- Implement a permanent humanitarian protection visa for people who are seeking asylum
Moreland Council – Direct Service provision
- Provision of Maternal and Child Health Services
- Provision of Youth Services
- Access to leisure facilities, including 3- 6month free membership at the local gyms
- Free swimming lessons for a limited periods
- Access to school holiday programs free of charge