Supporting local governments to advance communities where everyone can belong and participate in social, cultural, economic and civic life.


What is Welcoming Cities

Welcoming Cities is a national network of cities, shires, towns and municipalities who are committed to an Australia
where everyone can belong and participate in social, cultural, economic and civic life. The network is also part of a growing international movement of more than 135 municipalities in New Zealand, the Americas and Europe.

How We Help

Welcoming Cities recognises that, of all tiers of government, local councils are best placed to understand the complexity and diversity of their communities. However, they often engage in this work with limited resources and support. Members of Welcoming Cities have unprecedented access to a community of like-minded Local Governments and community stakeholders through:

Knowledge Sharing

Supporting local governments to access evidence-based research, resources, policies and case studies.

Partnership Development

Facilitating & resourcing multi-sector partnerships to maximise learning, reach and impact.

Celebrating Success

Recognising local governments that demonstrate leading practice and innovation in welcoming efforts.

Standard + Accreditation

Setting the National Standard for cultural diversity and inclusion policy and practice in Local Government.


Membership of the Welcoming Cities network is a measurable step towards becoming a thriving community. All that’s required to join is a signature and commitment from the Council’s Mayor or CEO.

Welcoming Cities members can access a knowledge sharing platform, webinars and the advice and support of their peers. This includes member Councils who have progressed further through the Standard.

As Councils progress through the stages of Welcoming, further benefits and opportunities are made available, including eligibility for awards and inclusion in leadership groups, advisory committees and events.

Throughout, Welcoming Cities provides promotional and communications support to help its members tell their story of success and demonstrate their commitment to their communities.

Welcoming Works

The continued success of multicultural Australia will depend on our ability to foster social cohesion as our population and cultural diversity grows.

Welcoming is about inclusion at all levels. It is a process by which all people can develop a sense of belonging. When people feel welcome they will participate in community life.

Welcoming is the means by which local councils, businesses and communities can embrace and integrate migrant communities for greater social cohesion and economic success.

Economic Benefits

“Welcoming is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.”

Over the next 35 years, migration will drive economic and skills growth in Australia. Migrants will contribute $1,625 billion (1.6 trillion dollars) to Australia’s GDP, and 10 per cent more to the economy than existing residents. Migration will also lead to a 60 per cent increase in people with a university education.

Migration will increase:

GDP Per Capita Growth
Workforce Participation Rate
After Tax Real Wages For Low Skilled Workers
University Education

Social Benefits

Currently, more than 100 Australian towns and regional centres are facing significant population and economic decline. Migration and settlement are helping to:

  • Increase local populations and add to the cultural vibrancy
  • Revitalise local businesses and services
  • Attract increased funding and investment
“The social impact of the Karen settlement is extraordinary. Nhill, a very conservative community, has embraced and opened their minds and hearts to the Karen. This has made Nhill a better place to live.”CEO, Hindmarsh Shire Council

Becoming a Welcoming City

The Welcoming Cities initiative supports local councils to consider, commit to, communicate, plan for, build and sustain a welcoming community. The steps to becoming accredited as a Welcoming City are as follows.

  • Consider Welcome

    • A local council explores the possibility of participating in the Welcoming Cities network and briefs the Executive and Councillors on key considerations and opportunities.

  • Commit to Welcome

    • A local council commits to participating in the broader Welcoming Cities network, and develops and socialises strategies that create opportunities for all members of their community to participate in and contribute to social, economic and civic life.

  • Communicate Welcome

    • Messages of unity, shared values and belonging permeate the community through the voices of leaders, the media and among residents.
    • Diverse voices are valued, listened to, communicated and celebrated.

  • Plan for Welcome

    • A local council facilitates a multi-sector approach, working to create a welcoming community that values social, economic and civic participation for all people.
    • A local council establishes policies and practices that embed welcoming and inclusion across all policy areas.
    • A local council develops strategies that focus on both new & emerging communities and receiving communities.

  • Build Welcome

    • A local council considers and benchmarks their policies and practices against The Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities.
    • Newcomers and established residents increasingly find common ground and leadership is representative of the diversity of the community.

  • Sustain Welcome

    • A local council is audited against The Australian Standard for Welcoming Cities and accredited as a Welcoming City.
    • Social cohesion and socioeconomic indicators improve over time.