Hindmarsh's Karen Community Plan endorsed for public comment

May June translates the words of Hindmarsh mayor Debra Nelson during Karen New Year celebrations earlier this year. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI
May June translates the words of Hindmarsh mayor Debra Nelson during Karen New Year celebrations earlier this year. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

ACCESS, involvement, and consultation will continue to be the cornerstones for helping Nhill’s Karen refugees integrate into the community.

Hindmarsh Shire Council has formed the Karen Community Plan 2017-21, which builds on an initial plan released in 2014.

The plan includes objectives in four areas: lifestyle; education, enterprise and employment; increased leadership; and services and support.

The first plan outlined how council would support Karen people by linking them with services they need to integrate into the community.

It also focused on increasing social cohesion by celebrating Karen culture and breaking down language barriers.

Council’s acting community services director Phil King presented the 2017-21 plan to councillors at a meeting on Wednesday.

He said the 2014 document included action plans for access, involvement, and consultation, and work to achieve them was ongoing.

He said the newest plan would build on and expand this work.

“The first plan was established to reaffirm council’s commitment to helping the Karen community’s transition from life in refugee camps in Burma, to Nhill,” he said.

“We formed the Nhill Settlement and Advisory Committee, and they have gone through a range of areas.

“The 2017-21 plan provides an update on data and statistics of the Karen community in Nhill and Hindmarsh shire, and outlines achievements reached from the 2014 plan.

“It’s a very similar document to the last one, and will be printed in both English and Karen.

“I think it goes into a lot more detail about the actions over the next four years.”

The advisory committee includes representatives from Nhill schools, Luv-a-Duck, and a range of health and community organisations.

Councillors endorsed the plan for public comment, and it will be released on Friday. Council will accept feedback until October 2, and hopes to adopt the plan at its October 25 meeting.

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