The Weekly Advertiser

EDITORIAL | Let’s all foster this opportunity

Dean Lawson Editorial Nov 2017
Wimmera people need to take heed of the success of a Heartland Horsham event last weekend and what it and other similar events could help lever for the region.
Heartland Horsham, which took its inspiration from a former Yarrilinks concept, was about providing a chance for people from diverse backgrounds to get together and work on a community project.
Other Landcare planting weekends organised in the region such as Project Hindmarsh and Project Platypus work on a similar idea of using an environmental project to get different people together. Heartland Horsham, which involved a mix of tree planting, socialising, feasting and celebrating, specifically targeted metropolitan migrants, be they simple newcomers to the country, or refugees.
It also worked, in a spirit of inclusion, on capitalising on help from migrant families that had already settled in the region.
At the core of this project and celebration was a belief that the Wimmera could well and truly do with an injection of that critical ingredient to socio-economic health and vibrancy – people.
It came as no surprise that the inaugural Heartland Horsham, which finished with a multicultural food event at Horsham Showground on Sunday, was a success.
In general, the Wimmera’s contemporary record in providing a welcoming environment for newcomers is second to none.
Putting on a big shebang so we can all shake a few hands, share some education time over a meal and make new friends is wonderful. But let’s be clear – it represents only a small part of what needs to happen to truly open our regional doors to migrants.
Apart from keeping an open mind to cultural differences, we also need to be in a position to offer people something tangible – a glue that not only brings them here but also encourages them to stay.
It is far from a secret that much of the economic backdrop we as Australians enjoy today is the result of creating a vibrant melting pot of people from around the world.
Different people bring different perceptions and ideas and these in turn generate wealth – economically, socially and culturally.
If we adopt this as a direction, through our communities, promotional groups and levels of government, we must also come up with ideas that can generate opportunity.
Some of us might like the idea of maintaining the status quo, but to quote Italian novelist Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and many others with similar philosophies, the reality is that ‘if we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.’

The entire June 5, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Jun 5 2019

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