By our community reporter
Melbourne: The traders of ‘Little India’ got a big boost on the evening of 17th August when Mr. Jude Perera, MP Cranbourne raised the issue of ‘Little India’ in the Victorian Parliament. He urged the Ted Baillieu government to compensate the traders badly affected by the Greater Dandenong’s ‘revitalisation’ program, which has imposed big business losses.
Little India, a multicultural hub is facing instant decimation because of the ‘revitalisation’ project which has curtailed road access, traffic chaos, lack of parking area, customers turning away, uncertainty of existence and lack of maintenance. The losses suffered by traders are set to ruin many trader families and loss of jobs for about a hundred people.
In his address, Mr. Jude Perera, took upon the State Planning Minister Mr. Matthew Guy for not replying to him and the Little India traders. He called the government to tell the traders about the future plans of the properties that constitute the Little India.
Mr Perera has asked the Planning Minister Mr. Matthew Guy to explain as to what he was doing when he was the Shadow Minister for Planning on the Little India issue, instead of blaming the ‘mess’ on the previous Labor government led by Mr. Brumby.
Mr. Perera said: “Not only does this show that the minister is inactive, uncaring and lazy, but when in opposition he was an inactive, uncaring, lazy shadow minister as well. Therefore due to his inaction, the minister’s meeting with the Little India traders has been reduced to a cynical political exercise. The livelihood of these traders is under threat. They do not appreciate anybody using their plight as a political football.”
In the absence of Planning Minister Mr. Matthew Guy, in his reply, Mr. Smith, Minister of Environment & Climate Change said:
“I say to the member for Cranbourne, who I observe is still in the chamber, that many of the issues surrounding Little India and the Urban Renewal Authority began under the previous Labor government. The former Minister for Planning, Justin Madden, was not clear as to what was happening in that area. I note that the member for Cranbourne said that this issue should not be used as a political football. That is a little hypocritical, in that I noted that the Leader of the Opposition was down there recently getting his photo taken for the local press. It makes me wonder why the Leader of the Opposition when he was a minister and sitting around the cabinet table did not raise these issues at the time.”