Who Are We
Albury-Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council (AWECC) is an advocacy organisation and charity, representing local residents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. As an incorporated, community-owned association, we undertake evidence-informed advocacy, promoting community partnerships and participatory programs which enhance community inclusion, cohesion, and wellbeing. We make multiculturalism work!
What We Do
Our core business is advocacy. Working alongside our members to enhance inclusion, access and social cohesion, AWECC is committed to promoting the successes of multiculturalism, and ensuring equitable, human rights-based outcomes for all, regardless of their background.
In order to identify and address specific community needs, AWECC and its partners, deliver various advocacy and community capacity-building programs, events and forums aimed at addressing identified needs. These needs may include, barriers in accessing information and services, poor health literacy, discrimination and racism, employment and workplace rights, a lack of skills recognition, mental illness and trauma, family violence and relationships.
The Statement of Purposes of AWECC are drawn from 'Clause 2' of its Constitution and Rules.
The Statement of Purposes of the Association is: -
2.1 The Albury-Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council is a member-driven community organisation, committed to empowering people from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The organisation focuses on advocating for local ethnic communities, improving access and equity, and promoting respect and community harmony.
2.2 The key objectives of the Association are as follows: -
a) To act as the advocacy and representative body in Albury-Wodonga for multicultural and ethnic communities in the formulation of, at all levels of government, policies, practices and funding opportunities that will contribute to both, equitable human-rights based outcomes and alleviation of social disadvantage and injustice for this cohort of peoples.
b) To encourage the full participation of Albury-Wodonga multicultural and ethnic communities within the social, economic, political and cultural life of Australia.
c) To promote awareness of the presence and needs of emerging communities and refugees amongst service providers and various levels of government.
d) To identify and address service delivery gaps in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) service provision.
e) To assist with the advancement of community language education and support of related educational facilities for ethnic and refugee groups.
f) To advocate, plan for and assist with the relief of the needs of refugees and migrants at all stages of life.
g) To promote the positive aspects of multiculturalism and cultural diversity to the local community and throughout Victoria, New South Wales and Australia generally.
h) To facilitate and deliver such services as may be necessary to achieve any of the foregoing objectives.
Why We Do It
By providing high quality service and advocacy we aspire to make multiculturalism work in the Albury-Wodonga region.
Our vision is of an inclusive and cohesive community, where everyone belongs.
How We Do It
- Advocate with members
- Celebrate multiculturalism
- Empower communities
The AWECC Story
Albury-Wodonga is a culturally rich community, where Aboriginal and European cultures live together. Often referred to as the 'birthplace' of Australian multiculturalism, our region has a long, proud history of welcoming refugees and migrants. Following the Second World War, more than 300,000 non-English speaking European refugees passed through the doors of the local Bonegilla Migrant Reception and Training Centre between 1945-1971.
Today, our community is home to residents from over 75 countries, speaking 55 languages.
Although officially established in 2014, AWECC's roots go back to 2011, when consultations between local government, service organisations, and local ethnic communities identified a renewed interest in establishing an association, whereby, the collective voices of migrant and refugee communities could be expressed and their needs addressed. The 'ethnic community council project' (as it had then been known), was robustly supported and guided by the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria and involved cross-border cooperation between the Wodonga Council and Albury City Council.
Leading the way
In 2012, Wodonga Council delivered governance and community leadership training programs for new and emerging community leaders through funding from the Australian Government. In 2013, Wodonga Council acquired a Victorian Government grant to support the establishment and organisation of an ethnic communities council.
In late 2014, Albury-Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council (AWECC) was incorporated and its inaugural Board was appointed, led by its first Chair Teju Chouhan, a former Bhutanese refugee and subsequent winner of Wodonga's Citizen of the Year 2017 award.
Saguna Gevariya 2022 - Present
Rupinder Kaur 2018 - August 2022
Sue Portors 2016 - 2018
Teju Chouhan 2014 - 2016
Albury-Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council (AWECC) is involved in a range of partnerships, networks and committees in order to better advocate for an inclusive community and equal access to services.
AWECC is a regional member of the following peak bodies:
Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia (FECCA);
Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV); and
Ethnic Communities Council of New South Wales (ECCNSW).
As part of AWECC's advocacy focus, AWECC contributes to government submissions and inquiries, and other forms of policy advocacy, on behalf of our local community.
At a local level, AWECC presents community reports on a regular basis to Albury City Council and Wodonga Council.
Community and Associate Members
Albury Wodonga Aus-Bangla Community
P 02 6043 3588
Albury-Wodonga Hindu Vaidic Sewa Samiti Incorporated
Bhutanese Association in Albury Inc.
P 0421 931 536
Our members speak over 30 languages. And come from more than 40 diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Some of the countries our members were born, include: The Sudan, Bhutan, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, United States of America, Bangladesh, Philippines, New Zealand, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria... and many more!