Priest says it’s time to focus on migrants’ achievements

Colac’s Father Michael O’Toole, pictured centre back, has thrown his support behind Colac’s African migrants and their valued place in the Colac community. Pictured from left are some of the district’s younger Sudanese community members Sarah Rongdit, Akuot Dau, Joar Riek, Alex Makuey, Nyamal Makuey and Sam Deng.

A Colac district community leader says the region’s African immigrants are “achieving great things” with the support of the wider community.

Catholic priest Father Michael O’Toole has thrown his support behind Colac’s African migrants and said he was disappointed with comments of former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott last week which suggested all African immigration should be banned amid gang violence concerns.

Speaking on Sydney radio, Mr Abbott suggested that South Sudanese and African migrants were difficult to integrate into Australian society.

“I am aware of the comments from our politicians at this time; I understand comments like this would be coming up because there is a state election in November, and a federal election pending,” Fr O’Toole said.

While acknowledging the integration of migrants into the Colac community hadn’t been without any issues, Fr O’Toole suggested that if politicians directed their attention to what was being achieved by Australia’s African migrants, as he thought Colac had done successfully, more successful outcomes could be achieved in communities.

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