biloela family detention
Kopika, Priya and Tharunicaa. (Image: Rebekah Holt)

When the McDonald’s outlet in Roma, five and a half hours west of Brisbane, was in trouble a decade ago, it was a group of Filipino settlers who came to the rescue. Locals didn’t want to work at Macca's, but a Filipino family was happy to flip burgers. More Filipino families came and now the small community in this bush town keeps the business going.

Roma Chamber of Commerce President Cyril Peet said two months ago, “the integration between the Filipino community and Australians has gelled and that business [McDonald’s] has thrived”. Peet was speaking after the Roma council voted 9-0 to write to Queensland Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston, calling for greater spending on migrant and refugee services, and for places like Roma to host more people seeking asylum in Australia.