Refugee Council of Australia
Audience clapping

2018 Conference Report


Recommendations to local governments, civil society and community groups.


Local government should continue to maintain and leverage multi-directional relationships:

  • with state and federal government
  • with the media and influencers, and
  • with civil society and community groups.

Advisory committees

Local government should be supported to set up advisory committees with the following characteristics:

  • Include representatives from all groups of stakeholders – this encompasses community representatives, including people with lived experience, councillors, council staff and civil society representatives
  • Establish an effective mechanism for vocal and opinionated members of the committee, and can push decisions along
  • Is capable of operating with working groups and include robust debates
  • Has the capacity to make direct recommendations to the full council.


Local government should be represented in interagency networks. This representation should consist of convenors and members, different stakeholders and service providers. Local networks can be useful for advocacy as they allow for: • A collective space for organisations to call policies into question • Opportunities to draw together an evidence base to inform policy that includes direct experiences from service providers and communities.


Local government should be aware of the power it has to influence discourse. In particular, the language used by local council can influence the narrative around refugees and people seeking asylum. It can be effective when local governments distance themselves from the national debate on detention, for example, and focus on local humanitarian need.

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