Rural settlement Program
In 2014 we had a discussion with The Hon. Concetta Fravanti-Wells, about the improvement of Settlement services for our communities. One of the challenges we discussed with her was the issue of unemployment for the people in our community especially those in big cities like Sydney, Melbourne and others. The effect is that some of our community members were put under pressure by the cost of living in big cities without employment and decided to move to regional cities and towns as their background is mostly in Agriculture and farming. We were finally asked if our people can actually live and work on farm by doing farming jobs and the answer was yes.
We developed a paper to support our argument on the profile of our communities’ vis-à-vis agriculture and farming, which we submitted to The Hon. Concetta’s office at the beginning of 2015. In Nov 2015, GLAPD Int. was contacted by the office of The Hon. Concetta, and connected us with a community organization called “Mingoola Progress Association” who were in need of migrants with Agricultural background to come and settle in their country area.
In January 26th 2016, we organized a team of six community opinion leaders from different communities of the Great Lakes to go and visit Mingoola country area. The visit was much appreciated by all members of the team and they all liked Mingoola and its people who were extending a hand to welcome to members of our communities willing to settle with them. During the visit we had a meeting with Mingoola community locals, The Lord Mayor of Tenterfield Shire Council and The Hon. Thomas George, MP representing Lismore in NSW State Parliament.
Interestingly, during the first visit, one of our team members was offered a job and started it after three days
After the meeting GLAPD Int. was invited by the Lord Mayor to come and present at the meeting of Tenterfield Shire Councillors on the 24th February 2016. The presentation was great and well appreciated by the council meeting of Councillors.
Meanwhile we agreed with Mingoola Progress Association, on the calendar of settling 3 families from our communities by the end of April 2016. This quick calendar is because, Mingoola Public Schools has been in recession since January 2016, and the school staff is supposed to be dismissed by the end of April 2016 as a result of the school recession. Thus the 3 families will provide enough pupils to reopen the school and keep the school staff working.
Members of Mingoola Progress Association have generously offered their farm house for the incoming families to settle in. However, these house need immediate repair before the families can start to live in. One of the immediate challenges that we are confronting is putting together financial resources to repairs damages on these houses. Simply because this is an activity that we only commenced in the middle of the financial year (in January 2016) but of which we had to start the implementation as a matter of urgency.
This is how far we are as of now and we will inform you of further developments regarding Rural Settlement Program in the coming newsletter.