Councillor Andrew Zbik announces that on Monday night, 11 December, 2017, Lane Cove Council passed his motion to become Sydney’s newest Refugee Welcome Zone.

The motion, put forward by Councillor Andrew Zbik, was passed 5:2 at the most recent Council meeting.

Andrew went to the local council elections promising to introduce the motion if elected and this result is fulfilment of that election commitment.

Andrew says that “What amazed me is that after being elected, this was the one issue that many residents contacted me about without prompting.”

Andrew also held a community consultation night recently in order to further gauge community attitude towards the Refugee Welcome Zone program. The consultation night was well attended by people passionate about the issue.

A Refugee Welcome Zone is a commitment by a local government area to welcome men, women and children who have been accepted by the Federal government and immigration to make Australian their home; they have moved from countries that have suffered war, civil conflict, religious or political persecution. The pledge states that as a community, Lane Cove will welcome these people into the community, upholding their human rights, demonstrating compassion and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in the community. Up until Monday night, Lane Cove Council was one of the few Councils left in New South Wales that had yet to sign the pledge.

In accordance with the motion moved by Andrew, the Lane Cove Council will demonstrate its commitment to the pledge by doing the following in 2018 -

  1. It will explore ways to further help local community groups who already work with refugees to hold an event or series of events that aim to help educate and raise awareness around the challenges refugees face when settling into the community. It will also aim to highlight and celebrate the contribution they make to Australian society.
  2. Lane Cove Council will investigate developing a work experience position in council for a student who has recently arrived in Australia. The intention of this position would be to help them develop their English and build their skill set in preparation for full time employment.

Andrew Zbik is excited for the future of collaboration between residents and Lane Cove Council and says “I am glad that my fellow Councillors see that Lane Cove Council can work further with local residents and community groups.”