The Rural City of Murray Bridge is a thriving region on the banks of the Murray River. A scenic drive from Adelaide of about one hour, it is well placed in terms of its geographic location, being on the national road network, with road and rail access to the eastern states and Adelaide. Its proximity to Adelaide, connection to the South Eastern Freeway, land affordability, investment opportunities and river connection makes the Rural City of Murray Bridge an appealing place to live, work and visit.
The Rural City of Murray Bridge is located on the traditional lands and waters of the Ngarrindjeri. In 2020, Murray Bridge had an estimated resident population of 22,847, with the population projected to increase by approximately 13% to reach nearly 26,000 people by 2036. Between 2017–20, net overseas migration was the largest contributor to population growth in Murray Bridge.2 In 2019, the region’s ‘All Culture Fest’ celebrated the presence of at least 25 different nationalities in the Murray Bridge community. At the 2016 Census, approximately 16% of the population was born overseas (of these, 27% had arrived in Australia within the previous five years) and 11% spoke a language other than English at home. At Census, a further 5% of the population identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.
The Rural City of Murray Bridge demonstrates leadership in advancing a welcoming culture according to the Welcoming Cities Australian Standards in the following ways:
- A longstanding acknowledgment from Council of the significant cultural heritage of the traditional owners, and a commitment to working with the Ngarrindjeri people that is codified in existing cultural management plans and Council strategies. Each year, Council supports multiple events which further reinforce this commitment in visible and public ways that also promote intercultural learning opportunities. The celebration of the 50th birthday of the Murray Bridge Bunyip/Mulyawonk is a recent example of such collaboration with the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority.
- Murray Bridge publically demonstrates itself as a welcoming community for different cultures, faiths, and ethnicities. A highlight is the All Culture Fest, held during Refugee Week, which builds on the declaration of Murray Bridge as a ‘Refugee Welcome Zone’, and celebrates cultural diversity in the region.
- Council actively uses the term ‘new neighbours’ over policy-specific terms such as ‘asylum seekers’ or ‘refugees’. This positively demonstrates a symbolic openness to migration.
- Council supports the Murraylands Migrant Resource Centre through grant funding for a variety of multicultural events, support for English teaching classes, and information exchange. This demonstrates a commitment to engaging with multicultural groups including the Murraylands Multicultural Network and understanding the needs of new and emerging communities. Recent events and projects include the Yuntu Walun Multicultural Festival, Punjabi Indian Festival, community garden development at the Migrant Resource Centre, and resources for Chinese classes for children to learn Chinese so they can converse with grandparents.
- The establishment of and Council’s ongoing support for the Community Action Group and Ngopun Together group represents effective mechanisms for discussing community issues and this also provides an avenue for feedback. Support for these multi-stakeholder groups works to inform future welcoming policies, activities, and frameworks across all Council areas.
- The mural painted along Sixth Street is another important symbolic reminder of diversity and inclusion for the Murray Bridge community.
Chinese Happy Dancing Group performing at the All Culture Fest event held during Refugee Week each year.
Vanuatu Group who joined our community to work locally.
New citizens are welcomed by Rural City of Murray Bridge.
Sixth St Mural – an important reminder of cultural diversity and inclusion in Murray Bridge historically, today, and in our future.