We have a range of initiatives that the Council has led or supported since our formal sign-up to the Refugee Welcome Zone initiative. Wyndham City Council is a supporter of the Wyndham Humanitarian Network, which is convened locally by the Wyndham Community and Education Centre.
Welcoming City Forum (2022)
During the lockdowns, Council held a series of forums to provide local information and to hear from Wyndham’s culturally diverse communities about the issues impacting them. The format for those sessions included; presentations from Council or other levels of government, presentations from local leaders about projects and initiatives and open forum conversations where everyone had the opportunity to provide feedback and input. Following this similar format, the Council once again invited people in Wyndham to come together to discuss how we can make Wyndham a more welcoming community.
On the night, Welcoming City Portfolio Holder Cr Jennie Barrera outlined the purpose of the Welcoming City Portfolio, provided some information from other local organisations about initiatives that have happened or will be happening in the city and invited people to provide ideas and input based on what they’re seeing as a priority in the city.
Future forums are also scheduled for August 15 and November 7 and we will use the information gathered from the initial forum to plan these additional sessions.
Opportunity Wyndham (2019-Current)
In 2019, Council established a function to support inclusive employment as a result of funding from the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment. The initial focus was on the employment of humanitarian migrants and asylum seekers with approximately 94 refugees gaining employment in the initial stage. The focus shifted as a result of the impacts of Covid-19 but has retained a commitment to seeking dedicated pathways for people facing barriers to employment, including humanitarian migrants and asylum seekers.
Key local employer relationships include Werribee Zoo, Woolworths, Pacific Werribee, AllGreen Nursery, Holiday Inn, Point of Difference Cleaning and Western Leisure Services. The team also works through an industry lens and has projects on the go to develop the workforce in some of the industries that will experience the greatest growth in the coming years e.g. health and social assistance.
The initial partnership has grown to include Job Prospects, AMES Australia, Wyndham Community and Education Centre, The Huddle, NextGen Jobs, The Gordon, Victoria University and Wyndham City Council. The partnership works together under the brand of Opportunity Wyndham.
Check out the difference this initiative is making here.
Refugee Welcome Banners in Council Customer Service and Community Centre Areas (2015-2018)
The banner reflects Council’s position as a Refugee Welcome Zone, an initiative endorsed by Councillors in 2012 which commits us to:
- Welcoming refugees into the community;
- Upholding the human rights of refugees;
- Demonstrating compassion for refugees; and
- Enhancing cultural and religious diversity in the community.
The banner has the word “welcome” translated into Dinka (a South Sudanese language), Karen (language of Burma), Persian (spoken by many Iranian asylum seekers) and Tamil (a Sri Lankan language). These countries represent the communities with the highest refugee populations in Wyndham at the time the initiative was released.