GIVING migrants and refugees new opportunities and a taste of life in country NSW is the main aim of a new pilot program launched by the state government.
The NSW GROW initiative was formally launched at Leeton's Historic Hydro Motor Inn on Wednesday, aiming to help new migrants and refugees in Western Sydney to find new opportunities in the Riverina and Murray regions.
NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole and NSW Minister for Multiculturalism Mark Coure were in Leeton for the launch, saying Leeton was the perfect place for the program to be announced.
"It's exciting to be here in Leeton ... it's a great place to live and to raise a family," Mr Toole said.
"This particular program allows migrants and refugees to be able to relocate into regional NSW. It helps them to find a job, to find a house and reconnect with our communities.
"I can tell you right now there is no greater place than regional NSW to live and raise a family."
The state government has committed $3 million to the program. As part of NSW GROW, the Western Sydney Regional Employment Hub will provide a gateway between participants and employers, helping migrants and refugees to make informed decisions about relocating and facilitating a move.
Mr Coure said the pilot would have many benefits for communities such as Leeton.
However, both Mr Coure and Mr Toole acknowledged issues such as housing would need addressing, particularly at a local government level for the program to flourish and be a success.
"In terms of housing ... they are conversations we are having with local councils and local authorities," he said. Mr Coure said migrants and refugees would be able to assist communities such as Leeton to fill gaps in the workplace, including in areas such as skilled labour, health and education.
"We are providing that leg up to our refugees and migrants who are coming into regional NSW with the opportunities for training and help, and in turn, giving back to the community," he said.
"This is a wonderful and exciting program."
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