Armidale is one of the two best places for refugee settlement in country according to the Refugee Council of Australia’s chief executive Paul Power.
And yet none of the 12,000 Syrian refugees the government is taking are allocated here.
Sanctuary Humanitarian Settlement council liaison Robyn Jones said volunteers and services in Armidale were ready and waiting to receive an allocation of the 5000 Syrians to be resettled in NSW.
“We are very prepared, we know exactly what to do, we know what support organisation government has to work with and we have a backup community ready to work with and assist,” she said.
“The services we have are unique to Armidale.
“Our uniqueness is due to the fact that we have jobs, we have accommodation that is affordable, and we are a multicultural community that welcomes people.
The former Armidale Dumaresq Council was the first council in northern NSW to unanimously vote to become a refugee welcome zone in 2003.
And last year council decided to try and bring Syrian refugees to the city.
Former mayor Herman Beyersdorf met with resettlement coordinator Peter Shergold last year.
And at Wednesday’s council meeting, Armidale Regional Council administrator Ian Tiley said he fully supported the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Armidale and would write to professor Shergold to express his views.
Council’s interim general manager Glenn Wilcox will also attend a meeting with professor Shergold next week to further discuss Armidale place in the resettlement process.
“We are still hoping to get an allocation,” Dr Jones said.
“I do not know why we have not had an allocation.
“[Local refugee services] have spent a lot of time helping the community understand refugee needs.
“And we have never had an display of any antipathy towards people that have com from overseas.”
Armidale is one of seven towns on a list to receive Syrian refugees.
“So far they have come to Sydney, Newcastle and Coffs Harbour that I know of,” she said.
“We have everything in place, we just don’t have the people.
“I can not understand it.”
We have everything in place, we just don’t have the people.- Sanctuary Humanitarian Settlement council liaison Robyn Jones
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