To live without the fear of war, to have your basic human rights upheld, to live in equality and without the fear of persecution – these are just some of the examples of what freedom can entail. Lithgow offers that and more.

Refugee Week will be held from 18 to 24 June 2023. It is Australia’s peak annual activity in terms of providing a platform where positive images of refugees are promoted to create a practice of welcome.

Everyday, millions of people across the world embark on dangerous journeys for the sole purpose of finding safety and freedom. Lithgow is a city with a strong sense of community and friendly people. Lithgow provides the opportunity to live with an increased sense of safety and a range of services and opportunities for individuals and their families.

In September 2017 Lithgow City Council declared itself a Refugee Welcome Zone following a request from the Lithgow Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support Group. Refugee Welcome Zones are an initiative of the Refugee Council of Australia and are defined as “a local government area which has made a commitment in spirit to welcoming refugees into the community, upholding the human rights of refugees, demonstrating compassion for refugees, and enhancing cultural and religious diversity in the community.” While the declaration does not confer any formal obligations, and Refugee Welcome Zones are not required to uphold any statutory responsibilities or financial commitments, Lithgow City Council does not want it to simply be a token gesture.

Lithgow Council has established actions which help to create a welcoming atmosphere, and which can assist the settlement of refugees and their communities. These include –

  • Developing community plans and strategies to ensure our communities are engaged and that we are meeting the needs of our community.
  • Developing consultation and engagement protocols with multicultural communities.
  • Attending multicultural group gatherings and work with LINC and other multicultural groups as needed.
  • Conducting and celebrating Naturalisation Ceremonies.
  • Promoting and administering the Financial Assistance Program for community organisations.


The Refugee Council of Australia’s Refugee Welcome Zone Report found that there are very few refugees living in the Lithgow area, but that being a Refugee Welcome Zone provides an opportunity to welcome refugees in other ways, such as inviting them to visit our area and letting them know they are welcome here.  

Celebrating Refugee week in Lithgow is a way to formally acknowledge and recognise the work that is currently being delivered by Council and the local service network, as another step towards building a modern and inclusive City.