Migrants and refugees, welcome to Brisbane!

Source: Facebook profile of Lord Mayor of Brisbane - Graham Quirk

Source: Facebook profile of Lord Mayor of Brisbane – Graham Quirk

ANETA ZILVAROVA

Brisbane City Council has produced multilingual videos entitled “Welcome to Brisbane” designed to provide information about facilities and services offered to local residents.

“If you’ve arrived in Brisbane as a migrant or refugee starting a new life in Brisbane, Council offers many programs to assist. These programs centre around community building and supporting culturally diverse groups,” the video says.

“Produced in Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean and Arabic as well as English, these videos demonstrate my commitment to ensuring Brisbane is a dynamic and welcoming city. … [They] provide a new level of support for the 16 per cent of Brisbane households who speak a language other than English, new migrants and about 72,000 international students, as well as international tourists,” Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said.

“One of Brisbane’s greatest strengths is its diverse multicultural community,” he said at Council’s 2013 Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony in January.

“Our city’s rich cultural tapestry is made up of residents from 208 countries, speaking a total of 211 languages at home and believing in 110 diverse world religions.”

Similarly, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs Glen Elmes also supports the inflow of migrants and refugees to Queensland.

“I would like to welcome each and every refugee to Queensland,” he said at the annual Lord Mayor’s Refugee Welcome Ceremony held on 17 April 2013.

“Queensland is a welcoming and inclusive state for everyone who wants to live here, share their culture and respect our way of life.”

However, Professor John Kane of Griffith University pointed out that “states, cities and regions have no powers of independent action over immigration, though they may welcome arriving immigrants…on the assumption that population growth is good for the local economy”.

A quarter of Brisbane’s population was born overseas and more than 2,000 refugees find their new home here each year.

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), the main source countries are Iran, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan, Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Ethiopia.

This weekend Brisbane will host The Skilled Migrant Expo, the exhibition providing information on living and settling in Australia.

For more information and registration see http://www.skilledmigrant.com.au/events/brisbane/.

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