By Neeraj Nanda
Melbourne, 1 November: The main political parties in Victoria have set the ball rolling for boosting funding for the Diwali festival in Victoria. At the glittering AIII Diwali Festival today at the Sandown Racecourse, both the Victorian Premier Mr. John Brumby and State Opposition leader Mr. Ted Baillieu announced major funding for the celebration of the biggest Hindu festival Diwali in Victoria.
Addressing the gathering Mr. Brumby announced that the grant for the AIII Diwali festival 2011, next year will be doubled. In his speech the Victorian Premier praised India and the Indian community here as an great example of a multicultural community.
A day before at the Federation Square Diwali organised by the Celebrate India, the Premier announced $ 1 million in funding through the Victorian Government’s $12 million Cultural Precincts and Community Infrastructure Fund to the Hindu Society of Victoria for construction of a Hindu Cultural and Education Centre in Carrum Downs.
The announcement is in addition to a $100,000 funding boost for the Hindu community to build a community hall announced by the Minister Assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs, James Merlino at the Melbourne Vinayagar Hindu Sangam Temple in The Basin.
The proposed Centre will be adjacent to the Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple, and will include a heritage resource and learning centre, a function centre for educational and cultural activities, and catering facilities to be used as a training kitchen.
Speaking at the Diwali celebrations at Sandown Racecourse, Mr Baillieu said a Coalition Government will provide an additional $100,000 towards the operating costs of the 2011 Diwali celebrations at Federation Square and Sandown Racecourse.
“I have been at both of these great celebrations every year over the last four years and I am pleased to announce that Federation Square and Sandown Diwali festivals will each receive $50,000 in support under a Coalition Government,” Mr Baillieu said.
“Diwali is celebrated all round the world but no more enthusiastically than here in Melbourne, with a great upbeat mood, a happy atmosphere and plenty of colour, music and food making for a great day for thousands of people from across Victoria.
By Neeraj Nanda
By Neeraj Nanda
Melbourne: The leader of opposition and Liberal leader Ted Baillieu today slammed the Brumby government over its handling of the attacks on Indian students. Mr. Belieu was addressing a select gathering to mark Australia Day and India’s Republic Day organised by the Australia India Business Council.
Mr. Ted Baillieu said that the law and order problem had become worse with record level of violence, racist behaviour and the decline of the international student market. Citing statistics, Mr. Baillieu said there was a collapse of law and order in Victoria with assault cases rising from 19,000 in 1999to 33 thousand in 2009. And added to this, he said, Victoria had the lowest per capita police in the country.
He slammed the Victorian Premier John Brumby for not acknowledging racism, violence and ensuring the safety of international students. This, he said, had given a unsafe and bad name to Victoria in the world.
The opposition leader also cited his experience with Melbourne taxi drivers who have been facing violence and racist behaviour for over four years.
Mr. Baillieu said, “ it was the worst thing to condemn the victim”, which he said, was an distraction of the real issue of violence and racist behaviour.
He then went on to criticise the Brumby government for its failure to acknowledge the problem instead of taking “swift, firm and decisive action” to curb violence, including attacks on Indian students.
“We have to curb the problem and the administration needs leadership”, he said.
The function was also addressed by Mr. Harish Rao, President Australia India Business Council.
By Melbourne news bureau
Melbourne: Victorian Premier John Brumby has expressed willingness to meet Indian High Commissioner Mrs. Sujatha Singh to brief her on the progress that had been made, including boosting police patrols in high risk areas like railway stations and toughening up police powers to search for weapons.
‘‘I’ll be able to inform her of all of these things and again to reassure her that Victoria is a much safer place than other places in Australia and indeed around the world,’’ Mr Brumby told reporters today.
Mr Brumby mooted a possible Indian taskforce to address racial attacks but said it would merely formalise work already occurring, reports The Age.
He will meet with cricketer Shane Warne tomorrow to discuss promotion of Australia in the sub-continent, including a possible friendship cricket game.
Earlier, Mr. Brumby had slammed the India for unbalanced reporting on the attacks.