OUTBACK: Council investigates possible refugee settlement in regional Queensland.
OUTBACK: Council investigates possible refugee settlement in regional Queensland. iStock

Planning for possible refugee settlement in regional towns

MAYOR Tyson Golder wants the council to consider its views on future migrant and refugee settlement in the Maranoa.

Action was taken after an email to southwest mayors, which included a covering letter from Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio to new Federal Minister for Families and Social Services Senator Anne Ruston, seeking an urgent meeting about the underfunding of migrant and refugee settlement and ensuing resettlement to communities across southwest Queensland.

On Wednesday, a vote 9-0 was declared to prepare a report.

Cr Golder sought the report as he believes the council needs a majority decision on its view on possible migration.

"It's a complex issue and it's important that it's done in a way that benefits the Maranoa," Cr Golder said.

"It's not saying it will happen but it's saying council needs to have a position.

"This is about finding council's position on people settling in the Maranoa where they may not necessarily have a job - that's a different kettle of fish."

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 census, 78.2 per cent of people living in Roma were born in Australia. The most common foreign countries of birth were Philippines 2.4 per cent, New Zealand 1.6 per cent, England 1.1 per cent, India 1.1 per cent and South Africa 0.5 per cent.

Roma Chamber of Commerce president Cyril Peet said migrant settlement would swell numbers in town.

"In my personal opinion, the more numbers we have, the more services we get, the more school teachers we have and so on," Mr Peet said.

"There definitely is a roll-on effect for accepting more immigrants.

"If you look at McDonald's in Roma, the integration between the Filipino community and Australians has gelled and that business is thriving.

"But there needs to be jobs for them to go into so they can contribute to the community."

The ABS 2016 census identified there were 3,515 people who reported being in the labour force in Roma, 4.1% were unemployed.

Mr Peet said Roma's unemployment rate was low and there was jobs to be filled.

"I know in the hospitality industry there is oodles of work, we've got everyone screaming for staff in town, big time," Mr Peet said.

"I think if it is put on the table as a discussion, by all means take it to the community and see what they have to say.

"It will affect the community in the long run so the community should definitely have a say."