Welcoming Cities Awards for Change 2024

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Welcoming Cities Awards displayed on a bench

The Welcoming Cities Awards for Change recognise the progress that strengthens social cohesion with newly arrived and receiving communities to ensure everyone has a chance to participate, belong and thrive. 

These awards celebrate leading practice and innovation in advancing welcoming and inclusive communities.  

There are three categories:

  • Local Government
  • Organisation
  • the Welcoming Cities Award

Local GovernmentWollongong City Council

Wollongong City Council recognises that, as a city with almost 60 km of coastline, it has an important role in ensuring the safety of multicultural communities in the water. It actively partners and collaborates with other organisations and government departments in planning culturally specific water safety initiatives. It is the winner of the 2024 Welcoming Cities Awards for change.

In 2012, in response to local drownings of former refugees and international students, Wollongong City Council worked with local multicultural organisations to establish the Illawarra Multicultural Water Safety Network.  The network brought together key players to advocate for the needs of multicultural communities and to deliver programs in the region.

Today, Wollongong City Council is a driving force in culturally specific water safety initiatives and collaborations. Welcoming Cities commends Wollongong for its long and continuing commitment to water safety, in the Wollongong municipality and more broadly, so everyone can safely enjoy the water.

Organisation – Expand Your Library

Expand Your Library  inspires and educates young ones through diverse literature, visual materials and immersive workshops.

They believe in promoting diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of life, including children’s education, creating allies in the next generation.

Expand your library have made a significant impact by activating allyship and challenging cultural stereotypes in education. The initiative started when Janae Tien’s  daughter encountered racism at just three years old and the following conversations felt messy and lacked resources.

Through play-based learning, Expand Your Library is changing the way kids interact with others and see themselves through the celebration of cultural diversity. They are supporting parents and educators to engage in meaningful conversations about diversity and inclusion and empowering parents and educators to create a world where everyone feels valued and respected.

Congratulations Janae and Expand Your Library as the winner of the Welcoming Awards for Change in the Organisation category.

Welcoming Cities Award

The Welcoming Cities Award, it is awarded to:

An individual or organisation that has shown outstanding commitment to creating places where all people can belong, participate and thrive. The successful awardee must: 

  • Have gone above and beyond what is required in their job
  • Have a demonstrated track record over a period of time
  • Be connected to a Welcoming Cities Member – employee or organisation
  • Demonstrate significant impact
  • Have used their position to support the broader sector to advance leading practice in welcoming and inclusion work.

This year, we celebrate two winners in this category. The first is

Tracey Grosser

Tracey Grosser who is the Community Development Officer at Tatiara District Council in regional South Australia.

One of the leading voices on social cohesion in small towns in Australia, she works tirelessly to advocate, support and walk beside people who have moved to the Tatiara area.

Many of the new migrants in the Tatiara region are on temporary or precarious visas, and Tracey has worked with Council and the local community to advocate for a permanent pathway for these visa holders.

Tatiara has a significant socially cohesive community, with over 30 nationalities represented in a community of just of 2,500.  Much of this is due to Tracey’s advocacy and tireless support of both the migrant and receiving communities.

Ellen Han

Ellen Han is a Community Development Officer at Logan City Council in Queensland. She is an empathic and dedicated community development practitioner, who creates connections and builds community. She is committed to serving her community and was instrumental in Logan City Council achieving Advanced Welcoming Cities accreditation in 2023.

Prior to her work at Logan City Council, Ellen co-founded Connecting International Students Brisbane (CISB) group and continued to support the group long after her degree was completed. This group is still a key network for supporting international students in Brisbane.

Ellen is very well connected and  regarded in the community of Logan – everyone speaks highly of her. She works to build connections across the city, profiles and celebrates Logan and what is happening in the region.

Ellen consistently supports and connects with other councils across the region. She is generous in offering her insight, knowledge and time to ensure welcoming and inclusion can be found everywhere.

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