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Have your say on the Yarra Ranges Cultural Diversity Policy

Published on 15 March 2019

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The history of the Yarra Ranges area has involved many different cultural groups and the number of residents from diverse cultural backgrounds continues to grow.

The Yarra Ranges draft Cultural Diversity Policy recognises the first Australians  particularly the Wurundjeri, and communities from diverse backgrounds who later immigrated to Yarra Ranges such as the Dutch, Italian and Swiss, who contributed to our communities and economies. It also acknowledges new and emerging cultures such as residents from Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Syria and Iran.

Read the draft policy and have your say

Yarra Ranges had 180 new arrivals in 2015-16 according to Census data. Five countries (Myanmar - formerly Burma, China, Malaysia, United Kingdom and Thailand) accounted for nearly three-quarters of these arrivals. More than 40 per cent of these new arrivals were Burmese, with almost all Burmese arriving as humanitarian refugees (89 per cent).

Council is seeking feedback from the community regarding the policy for six weeks, up until Friday 26 April.

Yarra Ranges Mayor Tony Stevenson said the policy focused on Council’s commitment that people from all cultural backgrounds are valued, included and have the freedom to express their cultural, linguistic and faith traditions without fear or discrimination.

“To move forward as a healthy and connected community, we first need to look back into the past to understand and respect our history, culture and heritage that makes us who we are,” Cr Stevenson said.

“The Wurundjeri people were the first on our shared land and we recognise their rich cultural heritage and deep spiritual connection to Country.

“This policy supports the Council Plan strategic objective of maintaining ‘Connected and Healthy Communities’ and provides a platform for people from all cultures to be acknowledged and respected when accessing Council services.”

Cr Stevenson said Yarra Ranges had a small but significant amount of humanitarian refugees settle within the Yarra Ranges in the past five years.

“We want to take a practical, proactive approach to ensure Council’s services are accessible to all cultures,” Cr Stevenson said.

“Council provides and manages a range of services and activities that we want everyone in the community to use including maternal and child health services, arts and cultural programs, facilitating investment opportunities, training for businesses, recreation services, libraries, youth and other family services.”

Cr Stevenson said Yarra Ranges Council welcomes migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, values the diverse cultures that make up our communities, promotes respect and social cohesion and rejects all forms of racism, vilification and discrimination.

For more information, please contact Council’s Indigenous Development Officer Garry Detez 1300 368 333.