Deloitte Australia has been engaged by Welcome to Australia and the Scanlon Foundation to research and write a draft Standard that will provide best practice accreditation framework in diversity and inclusion practices for Australian local councils.
Launched in March 2016, Welcoming Cities is working to grow a national network of local governments recognised for fostering a sense of community belonging and socioeconomic partictipation for all people, particularly newcomers.
National Manager of Welcoming Cities, Aleem Ali, said the Welcoming Cities initiative recognises and seeks to advance the social, economic and civic contribution that all residents can make to a community. In addition to the Standard, the national initiative will provide access to resources, networks and support for local councils.
“Local councils in partnership with local community agencies and businesses, are best placed to understand the complexity and nuances within their communities. They are also best placed to leverage the social and economic ideas and innovation that come from being welcoming and inclusive.”
Hume City Council, City of Greater Bendigo and Moreland City Council of Victoria and City of Canning and City of Stirling in Western Australia have officially joined the Welcoming Cities Network. A further 27 local councils across Australia have registered their interest in becoming part of the Welcoming Cities network.
Over the next 35 years, Migration Council Australia is estimating migration will drive employment growth, contribute $1.6 trillion dollars to Australia’s GDP and lead to a 60 per cent increase in people with a university education.
Deloitte Partner Allan Mills who is leading the work on the Standard said: “We are very proud to be part of this important initiative that focuses on empowering local councils to build more cohesive communities through economic impact rather than welfare.”
“It is particularly important to support and encourage the right programs and policies to be in place at a local level so our new community members can effectively contribute straight away.”
CEO of the Scanlon Foundation, Anthea Hancocks said: “Welcoming Cities provides a very important opportunity to identify the many levers that local councils, local businesses and civic organisations have available to ensure the whole community is prosperous and feel a sense of belonging.”
For more information on Welcoming Cities, visit www.welcomingcities.org.au.