RAR National Conferences

There have been 5 National RAR Conferences:

2002 – First RAR National Conference – Mudgee, NSW
2004 – Second RAR National Conference – Albury-Wodonga, NSW-Victoria
2005 – Third RAR National Conference – Bundanoon, NSW
2016 – Fourth RAR National Conference – Bendigo, Victoria
2018 – Fifth RAR National Conference – Wodonga, Victoria
2021 – Sixth RAR National Conference – Springwood, NSW
The next conference is being organised by the Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group.  The original date was July 3rd – 5th.  However, this has now been postponed to 2021.  Dates yet to be confirmed.

2018 National RAR Conference. Wodonga – 6-8 April 2018

If you missed the fifth RAR National Conference 2018, you missed a treat.

2018 RAR National Conference Report
Wodonga Statement – Wodonga Declaration

RAR Patron, Professor Gillian Triggs called for An Australian Bill of Rights, and took time out to speak to a child on Nauru.

Friday night at the Conference Dinner

On Saturday we sat down … to work, to listen, to share, and to learn

Rural Australians for Refugees National Conference presents Tampa Award

The School Debate was a great success

We met up with friends old and new

Shankar Kasynathan, Amnesty’s Refugee Campaigner launched Amnesty International’s
“A Better Plan for Refugees” at the RAR Conference

The Conference finished on a colourful and vibrant note … leaving us all wanting more.
Thank you to everyone involved.

And we wanted to say a huge thank you to the real workers for warm greetings and fabulous food

Do you remember the 2002 Mudgee Muster …  the First RAR National Conference


On 7 and 8 December 2002 in Mudgee NSW,  Rural Australians for Refugees had its first National Conference.

From the 2002 RAR Report: The Marvelous Mudgee Muster

Dear All – especially those who couldn’t make it to Mudgee!

The first annual RAR Get-Together was a fabulous event, successful beyond our wildest dreams.

We all went home energized, excited – and tired out from an intense and fulfilling day-and-a-half together. Our heartfelt thanks to Mudgee RAR who dreamed up the idea,  midwifed it and then staged the actual event without a flaw.

And thank you to the 150 plus participants who turned up from as far afield as Narrogin in WA, Goodiwindi in Queensland and Port Augusta in SA,  and a couple of dozen RARs in between.

Question time

The second RAR National Conference was in Albury-Wodonga 6–8 Feb, 2004

The meeting reaffirmed its commitment to the four key points of RAR’s 10 Point Plan; ie, that Australia should have a policy for the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees that will:

  • meet international refugee obligations
  • abolish TPV’s
  • end mandatory detention
  • at least double Australia’s refugee intake

The third RAR National Gathering 19-20 March 2005 was in Bundanoon. 

Photo by Alan Neild, Whyalla RAR

The conference was organised by a small group of Southern Highlands RAR members.

The weekend started on Friday night with drinks at the “Keil-na-nain”, the home of Anne Coombs and Susan Varga.

  • As well as all the areas RAR has been so far involved in we need to seriously consider helping to create employment for refugees, plugging into rural economic development for rural areas and expanding the welcome towns and welcome weekends concepts.
  • Another area to explore is the creation of educational opportunities for refugees in rural Australia – through TAFE system and other education sectors ie opportunity for skills development. Move on from fruit picking to more substantial training.
  • Continuing to educate the community seems to be another priority, with the Shepparton example of outreaching to Rotary clubs etc to tap into existing community groups.

The fourth RAR National Conference was held in Bendigo on 3-4 Sept 2016

This conference aimed to re-unite refugee advocates across the country, and to discuss practical strategies of joining forces across regional Australia to combat  the horrific language our political parties have used to try and sweep the issue under the carpet.

Former Bendigo Advertiser journalist Ben Doherty – now with the Guardian Australia – Nick Olle of The Project, barrister and Patron of RAR Julian Burnside, Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and refugee poet Hani Abdile were among the guest speakers at the national Rural Australians for Refugees’ One Voice; One Vision conference in Bendigo.

The 2016 Conference was a reaffirmation of Rural Australians for Refugees as a national grassroots network.