A GUEST speaker will provide timely advice at the Echuca-Moama Rural Australians for Refugees annual general meeting on Thursday night.
Chair Christine Sebire said Linto Thomas, who works in Loddon Campaspe multicultural support services in Bendigo, would talk about his role supporting refugees.
The event will also debunk myths about refugees and clarify areas too.
Mrs Sebire said Mr Thomas’ visit was extremely timely, given Campaspe Shire has just become a SHEV (Safe Haven Enterprise Visa) shire.
‘‘Linto will be our support person in Echuca, though we also have support from a number of different organisations,’’ she said.
‘‘He will talk about the support he offers refugees.’’
The Safe Haven visa is for refugees who have been in Australia before 2013 and provides protection for five years (as opposed to the three available under the other protection visa).
Now that council has opted into the scheme those who hold a visa of this kind can now live in Campaspe Shire.
The Federal Government introduced SHEVs in 2014 to encourage illegal arrivals, who engage Australia’s protection obligations, to settle in a regional community and find work or study.
‘‘The people the visa supports have already been here a while, they’ve already tapped into services, got their license, they know how things work,’’ Mrs Sebire said.
‘‘We don’t think it will attract lots but it does make our shire look more attractive. It’s great and we are very excited.’’
The AGM is at the library from 6pm and Mrs Sebire said Manus Island would also be on the agenda.
The RAAF Echuca branch has about 40 members. It first started in 2000 but the need for refugee support died down until two years ago when the branch was reformed.