Just 55km west of Sydney’s CBD and covering 404km², Penrith City sits at the foot of the Blue Mountains and alongside the Nepean River. Penrith is home to over 200,000 people. We are a dynamic and growing Regional City with a diverse and involved community.
Penrith City Council has made a commitment to working proactively to develop an inclusive community with opportunities for all residents. In June 2008, Council signed the declaration to be a Refugee Welcome Zone, which acknowledges the human rights of refugees in our community and demonstrates the compassion of our residents to people who have arrived through an often difficult journey to find a place of safety. This declaration affirms Council’s commitment to support the settlement of refugee communities and culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD) in Penrith City.
Over the last 10 years we have refugees settling in Penrith City from Southern Sudan, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Sri Lanka. Council recognises that the CALD community have unique strengths, issues and needs within our community and Council works to engage with these residents to support inclusive decision making. Council undertakes research and develops partnerships with community organisations and other levels of government to assist with planning and developing strategies to meet the needs of the City’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Penrith City Council’s Diversity Reference Group (DRG). DRG promotes access and equity for residents from CALD backgrounds through industry-leading practice. The goals of DRG are to: ensure that all Council communications (online and print) are accessible to CALD residents; to foster an organisational culture that values and understands diversity; to liaise with and support Council departments to engage with CALD residents and develop strategies to overcome language and other cultural barriers.
Multicultural Working Party
The Multicultural Working Party provides advice to Council regarding multiculturalism and the well-being of residents from CALD backgrounds in Penrith City. Objectives are to: promote Penrith as a City that respects multiculturalism as a means to contribute to social inclusion; provide a forum where community members from a multicultural background and representatives from social services can raise issues of concern; support Council in providing leadership and advocacy for the broader community to achieve social inclusion for people from multicultural backgrounds; provide advice on relevant Council policies and procedures; assist Council in identifying strategies to improve access and social inclusion for people from multicultural backgrounds.
Council’s Multicultural Liaison Officer
Penrith City Council has a Multicultural Liaison Officer who works within the Community and Cultural Development department. The Multicultural Liaison Officer strengthens community cohesion and inclusiveness between multicultural communities and more established communities living in Penrith through collaboration with community representatives and organisations that work with multicultural communities.
Membership on Penrith Multicultural Interagency
The Penrith Multicultural Interagency (PMI) is an independent network of government and non-government services and community groups in the Penrith LGA focusing on the improvement of service delivery and access for local CALD Communities.The purpose of PMI is: To increase community awareness and understanding of issues impacting CALD communities in Penrith LGA; to facilitate the settlement and access to services for CALD migrants and refugees residing in the Penrith LGA; to assist local agencies to develop and implement services which are relevant and appropriate to local CALD residents; to advocate to relevant bodies on issues of concern to the local CALD communities; to facilitate and expand participation of community and services in addressing issues impacting on CALD communities
Harmony Day is a celebration of our cultural diversity – a day of respect for everyone who calls Australia home. Harmony Day is a national initiative which coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Orange is the colour of Harmony Day to represent meaningful conversation, freedom of ideas and mutual respect. We celebrate Harmony Day in March to highlight the importance of respect and understanding for all cultures and communities in our City.
Refugee Week is an annual event that promotes the value and contribution of refugees to Australian society. The participants share their experiences of settling in Australia including challenges and successes. Usually it includes a number of performances such as poetry and dancing.
Every year Council coordinates and delivers a successful Spicy Penrith Festival event. This event to celebrates cultural and religious diversity of the Subcontinent, with approximately 170 performers showcasing their vibrant cultures through music and dance.
International Women’s Day
Council together with Penrith Women’s Health Centre, local community organisations and service providers hold an International Women’s Day celebration in March. This event is celebrated by more than 180 local women of diverse backgrounds and ages participating in a morning of entertaining and educational activities.