Armidale Regional Council is a finalist in this year's Government Award category of the Australian 2019 Human Rights Awards, due to be announced at the Fullerton Hotel in Sydney on Friday, December 13.
Mayor Simon Murray, however, sees the it as very fitting that one of council's staff members will attend the event, as the nomination was one that both community and council staff worked hard to achieve.
He described the Armidale's attitude towards the refugees as very progressive.
"Our staff have been the ones who were very active in collaboration with Settlement Services International, right from the very early stages," he said.
"This nomination essentially does go to Armidale. We've got a lot of community members, like Robyn Jones, who have been advocates for having Armidale as the resettlement location.
"As members of a council, staff have been working really well with Samantha Airs at SSI, and I think that cooperation is good between us."
Library and Information officer Aimee Hutton was the program leader for Community Services heading up the Refugee Resettlement Program and the reason she will represent council at Sydney on awards night.
"Council was really quite proactive with the Refugee Resettlement Program. We've taken an active role, along with many other services in town, to really help their transition be as smooth as possible and help them settle in," she said.
"The flood of volunteers that SSI received alone was kind of testament to the communities willingness to assist.
"Because all the services were working together and communicating so well, we found that information going out to the community was accurate and up-to-date, and I feel that the community had a pretty good idea what was going on."
Aimee said she had seen nothing but a positive response from the community as a whole.
So, the big question. Are we going to win?
"Yes, I like to think we will, and I like to think we've got just as good a chance as anybody in the category," Ms Hutton said.
President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Emeritus Professor Rosalind Croucher, described the awards as the pinnacle of human rights recognition in this country.
"Each year we are proud to recognise the outstanding contribution of individuals and organisations in promoting and protecting human rights and freedoms," she said.
"We are pleased to recognise Armidale Regional Council as one of the finalists for the 2019 Human Rights Awards, for its proactive, innovative and culturally sensitive initiatives to welcome refugees into the community."
She said even becoming a finalist was a significant achievement this year with about 350 nominations received for the nine categories in this year's awards.
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