FRIENDLY FACES: LOETUS is working with the migrant community to create a welcoming space.
FRIENDLY FACES: LOETUS is working with the migrant community to create a welcoming space. Contributed

How do we create welcoming, prospering Clarence?

DECENTRALISATION has been a hot topic, with recent changes to regional visa programs making a clear push to welcome a diverse population to the regions.

But what does it take to create a refugee and migrant welcome zone?

Languages Other Than English Together With Us is working with the Valley's current migrant population to determine what is needed to attract and keep them in the Valley.

A LOETUS survey of 38 migrants in the region found 55 per cent did not access support services that could help them settle in because they did not know where to go.

LOETUS chair Rathi Ramanathan said the organisation would create a welcome pack translated into several languages to assist new residents to navigate services and information.

"There is a huge push by the Federal Government to support regional communities to keep migrants given the tendency for them to relocate to cities,” she said.

"We know this, and we understand that migrants want to move where they have social capital and family.

"But there are a growing number of regional towns who have attracted migrant communities through providing incentives with the help of Federal and State governments to ensure migrants have appropriate services, housing and work.”

Ms Ramanathan said population growth in the region was stagnant, and the answer to prevent that was looking to migrants.

"We are keen to address this issue and support council or other stakeholders in playing a key role in developing Grafton and the Valley to be a refugee/migrant welcoming zone and bridging migrant settlement.”

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