The City of Greater Dandenong is the most culturally diverse community in Australia, with residents from 157 birth places and 64 per cent of its population born overseas. Many of those who have migrated to the area have origins in parts of the world with recent histories of conflict, violence and displacement.
There are approximately 2,000 people seeking asylum residing in Greater Dandenong - the largest in any Victorian municipality. Further information is available on the Social Statistics section.
Council, as well as community organisations and local business, supports refugees and asylum seekers to help achieve a healthy, active and safe life in this community. Council’s approach to supporting the refugee and asylum seeker community involves work in three key areas:
People – we actively promote welcoming and inclusive communities
Place – we advocate for increased housing accessibility and greater access to council and community facilities
Opportunity – we work to provide opportunities to participate in community life through volunteering; education and employment
Refugee Welcome Zone
The City of Greater Dandenong has been a Refugee Welcome Zone since 2002. The Refugee Welcome Zone is a local government area that has made a commitment to welcome refugees into the community, uphold the human rights of refugees, demonstrate compassion and enhance cultural and religions diversity in the community. This initiative is being promoted by the Refugee Council of Australia.
For further information on Refugee Welcome Zones please visit refugeecouncil.org.au.
Multicultural and People Seeking Asylum Advisory Committee
In December 2018, Council established its inaugural Multicultural and People Seeking Asylum Advisory Committee combining the former Multicultural Advisory Committee and the Asylum Seeker and Refugee Advisory Committee.
The Committee comprises of informed, engaged and qualified representatives from the community and organisations working in Greater Dandenong.
The committee provides advice to Council on:
- implementation of the Multicultural and People Seeking Asylum Thematic Plan;
- development of strategic partnerships to enhance services in Greater Dandenong for its multicultural community; and
- other Council plans, policies and strategies.
Positions on the Committee are voluntary, and meetings are held quarterly.
Greater Dandenong Multicultural and People Seeking Asylum Thematic Plan
The Multicultural and People Seeking Asylum Thematic Plan outlines the collective plan of Council and stakeholder organisations to support people seeking asylum and refugees, as well as, promoting the aspirations of the multicultural community within Greater Dandenong.
People Seeking Asylum and Refugees: Services and Programs
Directories, Applications and Guides
South East Region Refugee and Asylum Seeker Service Directory contains information about agencies, groups and activities that are available for refugees and people seeking asylum across a range of areas ranging from housing, community support and access, sports and recreation, language skills, facilities and health services.
'The Beginning a Life in Australia' booklet provides useful national, state/territory and local settlement information for migrants, humanitarian entrants, their sponsors and service providers. This information is available to download in English and 37 community languages.
Regional Advisory Council
Council is represented in the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC). The Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) has established eight Regional Advisory Councils across the State to provide advice, advocate and promote the benefits of culturally and religiously diverse communities.
Each Regional Advisory Council has up to 13 appointed members including local residents and representatives from service providers, community organisations, businesses and local government. Each Council meets three times per year. The City of Greater Dandenong is a member of the Southern Metropolitan Regional Advisory Council.