Councils call for increase in intake of refugees

In recent weeks local government leaders have begun joining with Amnesty International and calling for an expansion and improvement to Australia’s current policy of privately-sponsored refugees, enabling more people to resettle safely in our communities.

Amnesty International’s My New Neighbour initiative, has so far seen 10 local government areas pass motions calling on the Federal Government to ensure that the intake of refugees to their communities is increased.

Councils include: Moreland City Council, City of Whittlesea, ACT Legislative Assembly, Maribyrnong Council, Albury Council, Randwick Council, Fremantle Council, Wodonga Council, Wagga Wagga Council and Griffith Council. 

“This is a fantastic show of support for welcoming refugees and Amnesty International is so grateful to have these councils joining together to get behind expanding this neighbourhood-led solution to the global refugee crisis,” Shankar Kasynathan, Refugee Campaigner at Amnesty International Australia, said.

Community sponsorship is a model where ordinary members of the community are able to directly sponsor visas for refugees, who wish to begin the process of rebuilding their lives in safety in Australia.

“Every day communities around Australia welcome new neighbours into their neighbourhoods. Sometimes those new neighbours are refugees and the role councils play in welcoming them so that they can rebuild their lives in safety is crucial, so it’s fantastic to see these councils step up with the passing of these motions,” said Shankar Kasynathan.

The community sponsorship model has worked successfully in Canada for almost 40 years, welcoming over 280,000 refugees through the program, in addition to its humanitarian intake.

In contrast, in Australia, the community sponsorship program is capped at only 1,000 places this year.

“We can see from Canada’s example that the kindness of neighbours can help people who have lost everything to start again. An expanded and improved community sponsorship program in Australia would allow more people seeking safety to rebuild their lives, and set up a home here where they can prosper and thrive as new arrivals,” said Shankar Kasynathan.

For more information on how your local community and Council can sign onto the My New Neighbour campaign contact Shankar Kasynathan at