Refugees and Asylum Seekers

Refugee Banners on Fitzroy Town HallYarra City Council welcomes refugees and asylum seekers.

Yarra has been a Refugee Welcome Zone since 2002 and is proud to be one of the first local governments to join this initiative.

A Refugee Welcome Zone is a Local Government Area which has made a commitment in spirit to welcoming refugees into the community, upholding the human rights of refugees, demonstrating compassion for refugees and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in the community. To find out more, visit the Refugee Council of Australia website.

Council adopted its own Refugee and Asylum Seeker Statement in 2005, which outlines Yarra’s commitment to a respectful and compassionate approach to asylum seekers.

City of Yarra Refugee and Asylum Seeker Statement

“The City of Yarra encourages the development of a strong, resilient and diverse local community. The Council is proud to work with and support refugees and asylum seekers living in our municipality.

The City of Yarra recognises that people who leave their country due to war and other conflicts have often experienced persecution, trauma and grief and should be treated with dignity and compassion. We also recognise that refugees and asylum seekers have been disenfranchised from their own governments and need support to re-engage with government processes in Australia.

Respect and compassion will be the hallmarks of the City of Yarra’s ongoing commitment to assisting refugees and asylum seekers:

  • We will engage with our citizens, community groups and local service providers to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers settling in our municipality receive appropriate support to deal with the challenges of living in a new society;
  • We will provide opportunities for participation in local decision making processes, undertake capacity building in emerging communities and foster leadership development;
  • We will seek to empower people through building knowledge and understanding of how Australian institutions and services work, with the aim of increasing participation in all aspects of community life; and
  • We will advocate for policy change and additional resources for refugees and asylum seekers from other levels of government where these are discriminatory or lacking.

The City of Yarra welcomes refugees and asylum seekers.”

Multicultural and Language Services

For information about Council's services in languages other than English, visit the Multicultural Services webpage.


Refugees and asylum seekers  face many challenges during settlement and beyond, particularly in the areas of health, employment, education and housing. Council plas an advocacy role in these areas, by maintaining a presence on government and regional networks. Yarra is currently involved in the Northern and Western Metropolitan Refugee and Asylum Seeker Forum, which meets regularly with an advocacy focus.


  • Council organises an annual Refugee Week event engaging with groups in the community to build the capacity of people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds, while also raising awareness in the wider community. 
  • Emerge Festival – conducted at the Fitzroy Town Hall, commemorates United Nations World Refugee Day and celebrates Refugee Week in Victoria. The only festival of its kind, Emerge unearths the incredible talents within the refugee and asylum seeker community. The festival provides an opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to share and celebrate rich and undiscovered cultures.
  • World Refugee Day Rally – usually held on the Sunday closest to World Refugee Day, this rally is partly funded by Yarra, and involves a march throughout the city, concluding at the Emerge Festival, Fitzroy Town Hall.

Uselful links for refugees and asylum seekers


Further information
Cristina Del Frate
Community Planner - Multicultural Affairs 
9205 5174


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