BETTER SUPPORT: Greg Clancy, Patrick Deegan, Cheryl Nolan.
BETTER SUPPORT: Greg Clancy, Patrick Deegan, Cheryl Nolan. Tim Jarrett

Candidates snub migrant forum

THE non-appearance of several NSW election candidates failed to overshadow the announcement of a program for migrants in the Clarence Valley.

At a forum on migrant services in the Clarence Valley organised as part of Harmony Day, Language Other Than English Together With Us chairwoman Rathi Ramanathan announced a drop-in service at the New School of Arts.

Ms Ramanathan said the program was designed to help migrants access services, find work, study and create links in the community.

"We are proud to announce this program (and) we want to demonstrate that we are here to help,” she said.

"We want to create a space where migrants in the community can come and get assistance and hopefully from there it can grow.”

Attendees heard from state Greens candidate Greg Clancy and federal Labor candidate Patrick Deegan who outlined how the community could support migrants in area.

However, Ms Ramanathan expressed dismay some candidates did not cover issues that affected migrants in the region.

"Obviously I am very disappointed that despite sending the invites weeks ago, the candidates did not attend,” she said

"This is especially a concern given the tragedy in Christchurch has ignited an important debate on race relations in Grafton and the recent policy announcements by the prime minister to draw migrants to country towns to ease congestions in the major cities.”