The country town of Young nearly lost its major business recently –
the sheep and lamb processor Burrangong
But the operation is again booming thanks to 90 Afghan refugees who
have taken jobs there.
Apparently the Afghans Burrangong employs came to the New South Wales
town when the company approached the employment agency of the charity
Mission Australia. Burrangong was desperate to get staff and was heading
into a financial brick wall unless it could find them.
Mission Australia provided the answer to the company's prayers when
it placed the 90 Afghans at the meatworks nine months ago.
Since then, the community in Young and the company's managing
director, Tony Hewson, have learned to admire and respect these
According to Mr Hewson, they are incredibly hard-working and very
They have integrated into the town and many of Young's small
businesses are helping the workers with furniture, white goods and
The Burrangong story is hard evidence of the fact that regional
Australia and states with declining population such as Tasmania and
South Australia, could benefit substantially if we allowed more asylum
seekers to stay in our country.
Instead of locking them up for two or three years behind razor wire
and then looking for other countries to take them once they are
released, why aren't we processing their cases quickly and allowing them
to help those parts of Australia that are in economic, cultural and
Australia is facing rapid population shrinkage. In Tasmania, the
median age is now 38.8 and in South Australia it is 38.4. In 13 years
our national population will begin declining.
Population growth is negative in 21 of 48 local government divisions
in regional Victoria.
The result of these trends is evident for all of us to see in
regional Australia – bank closures, hospitals and schools disappearing
and community spirit broken.
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