This is Toowoomba's secret to peaceful settlement
CITIES struggling to achieve peaceful refugee and migrant population settlements would be "fools" not to learn from Toowoomba's success, the Federal Government says.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has revealed problem-plagued states such as Melbourne and other regions with high refugee intake populations should model their approach on Toowoomba, citing the city's proven record of social integration and engagement.
It follows riots in southern states including Melbourne from where claims Sudanese gangs were terrorising parts of the city months earlier.
Mr Dutton, who met with Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio and Regional Development Minister John McVeigh on Saturday, said the Federal Government "would be fools not to learn the lesson" from Toowoomba.
"We (the government) looked to Toowoomba for the different elements and ingredients that made it work and there are other communities around the country already looking to Toowoomba, so I think we continue to hold it up as the best example that I can consider where everybody has melded together to make it a success," Mr Dutton said.
"I think one of the proudest achievements of this government is the settlement of the Yazidi women and children, and their families as well, and when you truly understand the history and their background, the ISIL treatment of those women, the slaught of many of their sisters and loved ones, it was a compelling story for us to act, and we did.
"And I think Toowoomba should be very proud of the fact not only have they opened up the community but their hearts to these people as well, and it's no wonder to me that it has been a success given that was the attitude."
Dozens of Yazidis fleeing the terror of the Syrian civil war were welcomed to the Darling Downs in December.
With ongoing cultural and social support, it has been a peaceful process and one discussed at length in Canberra through Mr McVeigh.
The Groom MP said the region's historic agricultural trade links laid the foundations for migrant settlement success.
"I think Toowoomba and the Darling Downs is in an ideal position to participate in sensible and balanced refugee and migrant intake programs, as managed by the minister, because of our culture and our history," he said.
Cr Antonio, who is the interim chair of Study Toowoomba, a new program which works with refugee and migrant populations settling in new communities, called for more funding support to develop English language courses.
"That's the barrier to real integration," he said.
"We're trying to establish that, we're trying to establish Study Toowoomba and it's going ok, but we're very keen to get some funding to somehow either work with the University (of Southern Queensland) or Tafe in Toowoomba to get an opportunity for people to accelerate their English understanding.
"We see ourselves as a centre of excellence for education where there is a lot of investment from the private sector in Toowoomba, as well as the public sector, and we've seen a lot of opportunities for a language centre of some sort.
"I think that will make a real difference."
Mr Dutton indicated his support for the language centre which was in line with the government's hardline English proficinecy requirements to achieve citizenship status.