Members of Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group gathered on Saturday 11 November for the 2017 Annual General Meeting.

Chairman Hal Ginges congratulated members and their Committee for a busy and productive year, with highlights such as financial help for asylum seekers in their visa applications, and $130,000 distributed during the year to refugee families and Villawood detainees, and to other organisations such as the House of Welcome and RACS, and scholarships for high school students. Hal said the Group has worked hard to build the kind of Australia that used to exist, that welcomes refugees and acts out of compassion and for justice.

Hal Ginges thanked two of the founding members of BMRSG who are standing down from their long term positions on the committee and taking up new roles. Marie Standen has stood down from the committee after 16 years in a variety of roles. Marie was so concerned by the Australian government to the Tampa that she put an advertisement in the Blue Mountains Gazette asking if there were other like minded people who wished to meet, so BMRSG was born. Marie Standen has now joined Suzie Van Opdorf and Grant Medaris as life members of BMRSG.


Marie Standen received a standing ovation for her continuing work with BMRSG. She said that the amount of help given by members of BMRSG over the years was staggering.

George Winston, who joined soon after the start of the group and has served as the long term secretary has relinquished this role and will focus on fundraising in the new committee.

Councilor Romola Hollywood, representing the Mayor Mark Greenhill, read a message from the Mayor, “…the Council is inspired by your activism for human rights and that the world is a better place for people like you.”

READ: Annual Report 2017

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