Mayor offers homes to 1500 refugees but backlash disappoints
A MAYOR in country Queensland mayor has slammed the negative community reaction after he offered to accommodate 1500 Syrian refugees in his local government area.
Western Downs Regional Council mayor Ray Brown said residents were "missing a few welcome arms".
"This has upset the community... and created a great rift. I'm terribly disappointed," Cr Brown said.
Negative comments flooded social media following the announcement this week.
Cr Brown said the region, about three hours from Brisbane, was the ideal location to resettle refugees from war-torn Syria and Iraq.
"We have the capability and the capacity. We have new water systems and waste facilities off the back of the energy sector," he said.
"The quicker this happens, the better… let's get in and do it. It's devastating the situation these families are coming from."
According to Cr Brown, about 500 rentals in the Western Downs remained vacant.
"The Federal Government has said rent would be guaranteed for three years," he said.
"It's about keeping families safe. They've left their homeland to escape persecution.
"The longer you leave it, the more heartbreak will be felt. I'd like them here next week."
The Federal Government will decide where the incoming refugees live.
The council covers the previous local government areas of Dalby, Chinchilla, Murilla, Tara, Wambo and parts of Taroom.