The Shire of Plantagenet is a regional local government located 350 km southeast of Perth and consists of five key townsites, including Mount Barker, Kendenup, Porongurup, Rocky Gully and Narrikup. Covering a total area of 4,792km2, the Shire has a population of 5,168; of which approximately 4.5% identifies as the Mount Barker Hazara community. Like other culturally and linguistically diverse populations that reside in Plantagenet they make a significant positive contribution to our community both socially and economically.
Refugee Welcome Zone
In October 2021, the Mount Barker Hazara Community requested the Shire of Plantagenet to become a Refugee Welcome Zone. This was seen as a way to continue the Shire’s support of the settlement of refugees and to demonstrate our commitment to deter racism and discrimination. It also creates an opportunity to foster a culture of mutual respect and promote an appreciation of cultural diversity. The Shire of Plantagenet saw immense value in responding to this request and in November 2021 endorsed the declaration to become a Refugee Welcome Zone. Becoming a Refugee Welcome Zone supports the possible settlement and integration of Afghan evacuees who have been displaced and persecuted as a result of the political instability in Afghanistan. As one of only three other local governments in WA to undergo this commitment, the Shire proudly acted to enhance inclusion and participation in the civic life of the Shire.
Proposer for Safe Haven Enterprise Visa
On 23 November 2021, building on the Refugee Welcome Zone endorsement, the Shire became a ‘Proposer’ for the identified Hazara Safe Haven Enterprise Visa (SHEV) holders within our community, who had family members wishing to apply for Humanitarian Visas to Australia. The Shire was proud to be the first local government to adopt this status and delighted that this movement created a significant amount of interest. Hopefully, this will have a considerable flow-on effect, not only for the local Hazara community, their families and their plight, but for other declared Refugee Welcome Zones in Australia.