Monday, January 15, 2007

Tamworth and Refugees - follow up note

Photo: Tony Windsor (Independent, New England)

A brief follow up to my previous stories on the Tamworth Refugee imbroglio.

I have listed previous posts at the end of this post.Tamworth Regional Council is to reconsider this matter tomorrow. I will report on the outcome, although the news media will probably beat me in this case given the interest.

In the meantime, I see from the Northern Daily Leader (14 January) that Federal Member Tony Windsor has provided the Council with the sensible advice that if, as has been suggested several times, Council is concerned about weaknesses in the Refugee Resettlement Program then they should discuss this with the Immigration Department. I must say that this took me by surprise in that I had assumed that this would have been done as a matter of course.

Tony Windsor also made the interesting point that there was nothing to stop a community group taking up the program, that Council could not stop this and indeed had only become involved in the matter in the first place as a facilitator.

If this is true, it makes the whole thing even stranger.

A little later

I see the planned Council meeting has, as expected, become a major national news item although transcripts of the Australian Broadcasting Commission's 7.30 report stories are not yet available.It looks as though, as I had feared, the political dynamics involved have entrenched positions.

One interesting side issue in all this that I had forgotten is that Tamworth Regional Council is just that, a regional council formed out of the amalgamation of a number of local government areas. I do not know the break-up of Council numbers, on population terms Tamworth City will dominate, but at least one of the Councilors involved from the no side is not from Tamworth at all.

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