ABOUT 200 people from all around Australia have ascended on Toowoomba to hear why it is considered a refugee resettlement success story.

The inaugural Regions of Settlement conference, hosted by Multicultural Development Australia (MDA), kicked off yesterday at the Civic Precinct.

MDA chair Peter Forday said the delegates included local government members, NGOs, business and more.

"Toowoomba sets an incredible model for the rest of the country," Mr Forday said.

MDA chairman Peter Forday at the Regions of Welcome regional settlement conference, Monday, August 13, 2018.
MDA chairman Peter Forday at the Regions of Welcome regional settlement conference, Monday, August 13, 2018. Kevin Farmer

The conference comes as new research published on The Conversation revealed refugees felt more at home in Toowoomba than anywhere else in Queensland.

"According to our survey of 155 newly arrived adult refugees and 59 children from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who settled in Queensland (in suburban Brisbane and in regional Logan and Toowoomba), those who settled in Toowoomba have had the easiest time integrating and feeling a part of their local communities," Professors Jock Collins and Carol Reid wrote in The Conversation.

Lili Sanchez recounts her story of fleeing Chile as part of La Boite's The Village during Regions of Welcome regional settlement conference, Monday, August 13, 2018.
Lili Sanchez recounts her story of fleeing Chile as part of La Boite's The Village during Regions of Welcome regional settlement conference, Monday, August 13, 2018. Kevin Farmer

The research also found Toowoomba welcomed refugees from all religious backgrounds, whereas Brisbane and Logan had only recently welcomed predominantly Christian refugees.

"Toowoomba has just been so successful in providing a welcoming and inclusive community, people are invited to come into the city, participate, give back to the community and there is a great sense of belonging that comes from that," Mr Forday said.

"The upshot from that is Toowoomba is now hosting more people than anywhere else in Queensland. That includes Brisbane and Logan.

"That's a Remarkable testimony to success of Toowoomba and acknowledges this is a great place to settle refugees."

Silva Asal tells of his world travels as part of La Boite's The Village during Regions of Welcome regional settlement conference, Monday, August 13, 2018.
Silva Asal tells of his world travels as part of La Boite's The Village during Regions of Welcome regional settlement conference, Monday, August 13, 2018. Kevin Farmer

Mayor Paul Antonio said the region would continue to welcome many refugees and migrants to the region.

"We are passionate about resettling them and welcoming them in to our beautiful city and region," Cr Antonio said.

"The Darling Downs area has historically welcomed people from the four corners of the world who continue to contribute to the amazing cultural diversity that we have here today."

The conference continues today.
 

 

 

 

 

 



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