Refugees coming to Broken Hill?: question being sent to the people

Broken Hill City Council decided refugees coming to Broken Hill should be discussed with the Broken Hill community before any decisions are made.

The matter was raised through three motions attached to an item regarding the Local Government NSW conference.

The third item was as follows ‘That Local Government NSW lobby the Department of Home Affairs to increase the support to regional councils in developing and implementing humanitarian settlement strategies in order to increase their population and stimulate their economies.’

“This motion has only just been presented to Council and we need to take it to the people to see what they want to do regarding refugees,” Mayor Tom Kennedy said.

He added that Broken Hill does not have the number of mental health workers needed to support refugees who can come from exceedingly disrupted communities.

“After World War II, when many refugees settled here from war torn Europe, Broken Hill was a thriving community of 30,000 plus; we had our own hospital, a vibrant community, good resources, it was a growing city that needed workers,” he explained.

“We are now a city in decline that doesn’t have the same medical facilities, educational resources or even workers to keep the streets clean,” he said.

He said such meetings have been held in the past and they did not support refugees coming to town.

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Before Council makes such a decision it needs to discuss the issue with the community at new meetings held for that purpose.

The item was passed without the third recommendation regarding refugees.

On the matter of streets

The Council also discussed the issue of street cleanliness when discussing the massive decrease in Council staff when Therese Mann was General Manager.

Council went from having 250 employees to 145.

Many of the positions were workers who maintained the streets and parks.

Council will be reviewing this situation with the General Manager during budget preparations Mayor Kennedy said.

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