Minutes of General Meeting held 12 May 2022

The meeting commenced at 7pm.

Present:  Gavin Bell, Dianne Beckett, Naomi White, Karen Duncan, Karen Gillespie, Denise Perry, Chris and Ray Tynan, Celi Kennedy.

Apologies: Michael Brosnan, Karen Gillespie, Ian MacLiesh, Peter Reid, Paul Cosgrave, Kylie Furnell, Wendy Wait, David Gallan, Barbara Jones, Sara Williams and Jo Riley-Fitzer

Gavin opened the meeting with a welcome and commenced by inviting attendees to briefly introduce themselves.


Denise informed the meeting of a new initiative to resettle refugees.  It is a partnership between the Federal Government, the UNHCR and CRSA (Community Refugee Support Australia) which aims to settle 1500 refugees between now and 2025 into local communities across Australia. It is called CRISP (Community Refugee Integration and Settlement Pilot).


  • Ukraine – 5.6m people misplaced
  • 21m refugees are under the care of UNHCR
  • Before pandemic 1 in 500 refugees were being resettled
  • Most want to be settled close to home, but the most vulnerable can’t be due to persecution and health needs.


  • UNHCR selects refugees
  • Aim to re-settle 100 in 2021-2022 and build up numbers after that
  • CRISP to match refugees with Community Support Groups who undertake to support them for 12 months.


  • Final applications are due by 27 May 2022 – too soon for local groups.
  • Given the housing shortage here, and lack of services for new migrants should we host a group or support another group in a better resourced location?

Denise will provide more information to future meetings.

MARRS VISIT (Multicultural and Refugee Settlement Services)

Planning for the visit is now well under-way.  The guests will be coming by bus on Thursday, 20 October 2022.  Plans include school visits on Friday, a beach outing on Saturday, cooking and sharing with host families, a local get together, possisbly at Potoroo Palace and then back to Canberra.

Previous visits have led to special friendships and ongoing relationships.

Contact Gavin on 0411 564 120 if you would like to be involved.

Due to the low numbers present at this meeting we then determined that we had a quorum (5 members need to be present) and then proceeded as follows:

Minutes: The minutes of the February meeting were circulated and accepted with a correction to the date and a minor spelling error. 

Treasurer’s Report:

The Treasurer’s reports relating to Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast and the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund were circulated prior to the meeting.  It was moved by Celi seconded by Gavin that the reports be accepted.  Carried.

Asylum Seekers/Refugees (see above)

Forces for Nature  A report had been circulated prior to the meeting.  No further information was discussed.

Indigenous Affairs

Lobbying continues around support for the aims of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the raising of the age of criminal responsibility.  The group is waiting for a response to their submission regarding the number of indigenous children in state and foster care.

The group is taking an interest in, and supporting, the canoe building project being run by Michael Palmer of the Eden Uniting Church.


Report circulated prior to the meeting outlining good progress with 2 units arriving by the end of May – to go to Reflections Park at Pambula.

SJA has since been offered a private home on a temporary basis. 

General Business

Bega Valley Advocates for Timor Leste:  The Timor Leste flag will be flown at the Bega Valley Shire Council Chambers at 10.30 am on Wednesday, 28 May 2022.  All welcome to mark the event.

Cambodia – Bega High Craft for Cambodia is marking the building of twenty homes in Cambodia.

Meeting concluded about 8.30.

(Next meeting: Thursday, 14 July, 2022)