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Children Off – All Off

This event was held at Fawcett Park in Ballina on Saturday, November 10 and was well supported with more than 50 people in attendance. While the rally was initially intended to focus on the World Vision Australia initiated #KidsOffNauru campaign, as children have been systematically removed from Nauru with at most 27 remaining at the time of the rally, the Australia-wide focus had changed to Kids Off – All Off. This became the focus of our rally.

Cath Napier spoke about the serious impact of long-term trauma on young people but tempered this by stating that the signs and symptoms were reversible with appropriate treatment and care. This made it all the more important to remove the children from Nauru and provided an opportunity to focus on removing all people from Nauru and Manus.
The Community Choir conducted by Peter Lehner performed two songs, one an African lullaby the lyrics of which Rik Dillon rewrote and performed as Nauruan Lullaby. Rik adapted a Michael Leunig poem, which became the second song. This was filmed and will be sent to Leunig, a supporter of refugee action.
Peter Lino recited his adaptation ‘I’m the Very Model of a Modern Immigration Minister’.

Those present donated $191.20, which will be sent to the Brigidine Sisters who are working with the men on Manus.
Cath Napier's Speech

Manus Island update

The below report is from Janet Wilson, who with Jane Keogh of the Brigidine Sisters, provides enormous support for the men on Manus. BR4R has donated funds for their work. A key liaison person for Janet and Jane is Behnam, a refugee who provides invaluable assistance to his fellow refugees, especially those who were transferred from Manus Island to Port Moresby for medical treatment.
Last week Behnam was transferred back to Manus Island for the duration of APEC. He took with him many sick men who are now without medications and access to a hospital. Last night, there was no space to sit  in Lorengau hospital  on Manus and a very sick man waited on the floor until he was sent back to his room because there was no space at the hospital for him. The hospital is a separate entity from Pacific International Hospital that is contracted by Australia to operate a business hours only clinic out of a donga at the east Lorengau transit centre. They provide a GP service and a very limited mental health service. This is an example of the uncoordinated service provision and the lack of continuity of care.
Behnam continues to coordinate services for the men who have been left in Moresby. He and Aziz were successful in having one man removed to Moresby General two days ago despite the no fly zone over Moresby due to APEC.
Behnam has appeared on PNG TV as part of a panel to discuss the issues for refugees and people seeking asylum. He is doing this work with the Catholic bishops and Rebecca Lim. Father Clement (on Manus) and the bishops are appealing for the men to be removed to Australia before Christmas.

"Supporting Refugees Effectively" Workshop

By most accounts, the Workshop on “Supporting Refugees Effectively” was a huge success. It was held on Saturday 27 October in East Ballina and 20 members attended.

Conducted by a team of 7 from Refugee Connect, Brisbane, the attendees learnt about “The Refugee Experience”; “The Refugee Situation and System”; “Cross-Cultural Communication”; “The Role of the Volunteer”; and “Care of the Volunteer”.

The morning sessions were kept interesting and relevant through real-life case studies and group discussions, and with three refugees sharing their personal stories. Through the workshop, we learnt about the great work that Refugee Connect has been doing to support refugees and asylum seekers in Brisbane and surrounds. The afternoon sessions on the role of and care for the volunteers, while useful, could have been improved by being made more relevant to BR4R. That said, the overall feedback on the workshop was very positive.

Gunela, our president, presented a donation of $500 to Ken Myers, their CEO at the close of the workshop, and stronger ties are expected to be fostered between the two organisations.

Annual General Meeting

Ballina Region for Refugees Inc

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Ballina Region for Refugees Incorporated (BR4R)
24th November, 2018 at 2pm (membership renewals from 1.30pm)
Grandview Apartments, 3 Grandview St, Ballina

Nominations will be invited for positions on the BR4R Committee:
  • President
  • Vice president
  • Committee Members x2
Financial members will receive reports and financial statements by separate email
Photos from last year's AGM

The AGM will be followed by an open meeting, presentations of awards and certificates  and the BR4R Christmas party. All welcome


The aim of the group is to communicate with politicians and those with influence to help them to understand the inhumane actions by the Australian government in indefinite off-shore detention and the continuing suffering of refugees and people seeking asylum both on & off-shore.

The group may also write to those in detention, both on and off-shore, in support and friendship.
For further information contact or sign up at our AGM

It is envisioned that the group of like-minded people will meet, encourage and support each other and discuss ideas and suggestions to be more effective.



Politicians can be identified and contacted through the list of members available on the Australian Parliament website.

  • ROADSIDE RALLIES - Kerr St Entrance to the Ballina Fair Shopping Centre - 4pm on alternate Wednesdays - November 28, December 12.
  • MARKETS - East Ballina Lion's Club Markets, Canal St, Ballina - 3rd Sunday of the month - 18th November and 16th December
  • ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - Grandview Apartments, 3 Grandview Street, East Ballina - 24th November at 2pm. Followed by an Open Meeting, Award Ceremony and Christmas Party
Link to BR4R on Facebook
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Ballina Region for Refugees · PO Box 7083 · East Ballina, NSW 2478 · Australia

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