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MEDIA RELEASE - Free BBQ for Casterton's new residents

14 March 2019

Casterton is laying down the welcome mat for its newest migrant residents this month in an effort to ease the tree change transition.

Glenelg Shire Council is hosting a free Welcome Day barbecue on Sunday 24 March at Island Park to provide a warm welcome to the town’s newest residents, including 28 Congolese skilled migrants.

Leaders from the community, including sporting clubs, service groups, school, hospital and council representatives will be on hand to answer questions and provide advice on all of the opportunities available in the region.

The skilled migrants were attracted to Casterton as part of a Leadership Great South Coast migration project, assisting the secondary migration for the families and individuals from their Sydney base.

Glenelg Shire councillor Karen Stephens, who is based in Casterton and has assisted to coordinate the project, said many of the migrants had been desperately seeking a country lifestyle, keen to relive their previous Congo lifestyle.

“For many of these families life in Casterton has been an extremely comfortable transition as the country lifestyle is what they have been used to in their homeland,” Cr Stephens said.

“Many have skills which can assist in our local agricultural sector and for the children they feel extremely comfortable in smaller schools, which have a greater sense of community and family atmosphere.”

Cr Stephens said the skilled migrants had joined the community alongside a number of other skilled foreign residents in recent time.

She said a couple from Brazil had recently purchased a local café, a doctor and his family had relocated from Sri Lanka whilst the hospital had attracted staff from Kenya and India.

“Casterton has embraced these new faces to town and are enjoying learning their culture, hearing their stories and having them share their newfound skills within our community,” she said.

“This welcome event was borne from our local community wanting to pass on their appreciation that these people have chosen our town to call home. Moving from a foreign land to a rural and remote community must be extremely stressful and daunting for these individuals.

“If we can make their transition a little more comfortable, providing a welcoming and friendly smile building a relationship over lunch it is a step in the right direction. Skilled migrants will continue to play an important role in our community into the future as we look to solve our skill gap and it’s important we get the formula right, with a sustainable and positive plan to make our region an attractive place to live and work with ambassadors by their side to assist with the move.”

The free community Welcome Day will be held at Island Park’s tennis and netball clubroom from 12noon on Sunday 24 March with all welcome.

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