Refugee Welcome Zone

The City of Casey became a Refugee Welcome Zone on 4 June 2002 in accordance with the declaration signed by Council.

Council has made a commitment in spirit 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 City of Casey is Victoria’s most populous municipality and will be home to over 450,000 residents by 2036. Rapid population growth impacts on the relationships and connections people have with others. While the population in the City of Casey is one of the most rapidly growing in size, it is also rapidly growing in diversity.

Council has a significant leadership role to play in influencing and promoting the development of equitable and inclusive environments which promote diversity, access and inclusion both in the community and in the workforce that supports the community. Council also has a role to advocate in the best interests of the community and to build social cohesion.

With a current population of over 280,000 residents, a rich diversity including, for example; over 150 cultures, more than 140 languages spoken, and with more than 120 faiths represented, the Council has long been aware of the opportunities and challenges this presents. Under the Local Government Act 1989, Council plans for and delivers services and facilities that are accessible and equitable and meet the diverse needs of the community. Therefore, Council needs to plan for the existing and future population and provide accessible and equitable (fair) services and promote the best interests of its local community.

Interesting Facts:

  • The City of Casey has the fourth highest number of resettled refugees in Victoria
  • Casey's refugee population is estimated at 4.12% or 10,400 residents (2011 census)
  • Around 4,000 refugees settle in Victoria each year
  • Another 10,000 asylum seekers live in the Victorian community on bridging visas while they wait for the determination of their refugee status
  • Victoria has the largest intake of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia
  • Victoria’s refugee and asylum seeker settlers can often have complex and chronic physical and mental health conditions on arrival in Victoria

(Sources 2011 census data, State Government of Victoria website: health.vic)

What is a refugee?

A person who is outside their own country and is unable or unwilling to return due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of their:

  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership of a particular social group or political opinion

What is an asylum seeker?

A person who is seeking protection as a refugee and is still waiting to have his/her claim assessed. Every refugee has at some point been an asylum seeker.

What is a migrant?

A migrant is someone who chooses to leave their country to seek a better life. They choose where they migrate to and they are able to return whenever they like.

Key Dates

  • Refugee Week 19 – 25 June 2016
  • World Refugee Day 20 June 2016

The City of Casey develops and works in partnership with other organisations on projects that help refugees reconnect with their community.

The Sharing Our Cultural Diversity Project

This project was developed with the aim to assist Cranbourne Community House and Hampton Park Community House to build their capacity and confidence in supporting and engaging with culturally diverse communities. This project was created and carried out by the Community Facilities Team at the City of Casey.  The project recently culminated in a morning of celebration at the Arthur Wren Hall. Participants in the project, who were recently arrived women of refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, joined in the celebrations and were entertained by musicians from the Chinese and the Cook Island communities. They enjoyed a lunch together and many went away with delicate henna work on their arms.

The participants were from diverse backgrounds such as Afghan, Egyptian, Syrian and Lebanese and were extremely hesitant to join in at the start of the project. On the day of the event they were seen chatting, laughing and having fun together and a number of participants commented that they had experienced positive changes in their lives as a result of the project.

The Afghan Sunday Sport Project

This project was initiated by a group of young Afghan leaders associated with the Noor Foundation. Leaders Ms Shabnam Safa and Mr Habib Mohammadi saw the need for young Afghans who were socially isolated to have a place where they could participate in sport as well as have an opportunity to socialise.

‘Sunday Sport’ is now run every week by the Afghan community. This has been arranged with the assistance of the City of Casey and Cranbourne Secondary College and commenced on Sundays at the school’s gym on Sunday 7 February 2016. Those involved have reported that they have enjoyed getting active and feel more connected to other people in their local community. 

View the DVD’s on Councils Experience Casey webpage.