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Photo Credit: Swan Hill Rural City Council

Robinvale Raids Response

Robinvale Raids Response

Photo Credit: Swan Hill Rural City Council

Mayor Responds After National Spotlight Turns to Robinvale

Swan Hill Rural City Council Mayor Ann Young has responded to the recent raids in Robinvale, stating she "wasn't surprised" by the reports, however was "saddened" by the incidents.

In a written statement released this afternoon, Cr Young addressed the reports released by the Australia Border Force, which stated a 16-year-old boy among 22 others were caught in raids on February 13.

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Border Force officials found up to 17 people in one house, which included five sleeping on mattresses in the garage.

All 23 were suspected of being involved in facilitating illegal foreign workers in Victoria, with one also alleged to be acting as an illegal migration agent across several states.

The raid came as part of Operation Battenrun, which has seen criminals caught across New South Wales and Queensland as well.

Cr Young in her statement expressed her, and the Council's, full support for the crackdown.

“We support the Australian Border Force acting to prevent the exploitation of any workers. We also support their work in making sure that anyone working in Australia is doing so legally," Cr Young said in the statement.

"While I wasn’t surprised by the reports, I was saddened to hear that people are still being exploited and continue to be forced to live in this type of accommodation in our community."

The focus of the statement then turned to the housing crisis in Robinvale, which is currently subject to multiple consultations by third parties.

Cr Young said the Council is doing their best to prevent similar issues reoccurring.

"Our track record shows that we don’t condone people living in substandard accommodation and we have been very active in our municipality’s horticultural areas in closing down or bringing up to standard illegal rooming houses," Cr Young said.

"“We have engaged experts to come up with a long-term plan that will help Council, State Government and private enterprise work towards improved housing options in the Robinvale area. And, we are working with experts to get a more accurate picture of the Robinvale’s population, so that we can lobby for appropriate levels of State and Federal funding and service provision.”

Cr Young was unavailable for further live comment due to Council duties.

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