More than 200 delegates from across Australia will descend on Toowoomba for the inaugural Regions of Welcome Settlement conference from Sunday 12 to Tuesday 14 August. The conference will focus on setting the national agenda on resettlement in Australia and the opportunities in regional Australia to provide new settlements for refugees.

Multicultural Development Australia (MDA) has been providing settlement services to newly arrived refugees for the past 20 years. MDA works collaboratively with partners across Queensland with Toowoomba being a key settlement location for refugees. MDA’s CEO Kerrin Benson said Toowoomba was chosen to host the conference because of its own story and what it is already offering in terms of settlement opportunities for refugees and migrants. “We want to showcase success of regional settlement, the opportunities and challenges resettlement offers to regional areas and the role of leadership in creating cohesive communities,” Kerrin said.

Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Cr Paul Antonio said it is an honour for the Toowoomba region to host the inaugural Regions of Welcome conference. “We have welcomed and continue to welcome many refugees and migrants to this region. We are passionate about resettling them and welcoming them in to our beautiful city and region,” Cr Antonio said.

Another highlight of the conference will be The Village performing for the delegates. “The Village is a collaboration with refugee resettlement agency MDA and is all about immersing the audience in the real stories of refugees and people seeking asylum who have made Australia their home,” Kerrin added.

Readers also enjoyed this story about Toowoomba’s pop-up picnic event, Le Dîner en Blanc.