Tag: Dandenong

Labor’s masterstroke: Victoria’s first Indian Precinct in Dandenong

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By Neeraj Nanda

Melbourne, 2 Dec 2015: The fast growing Indian community in Victoria will soon have its own first cultural precinct in Little India, Dandenong. A second precinct will also be established in Melbourne’s West, after a feasibility study, which will decide its location and form.

The announcement has come after Premier Daniel Andrews announced the setting up of an Indian precinct during the last years (2014) Diwali celebrations at Federation Square. This was followed by community consultations and a feasibility study.

The issue was a hot topic during the previous Coalition Government and Little India traders had launched a signature campaign followed by a rally outside the Victorian parliament. The spark being Places Victoria’s decision to redevelop the area and the fear of traders loosing their livelihood and rendering hundreds unemployed.

The Daniel Andrew government’s decision to have Indian precinct’s in the south-eastern and western (later) suburbs is being seen as a master stroke balancing act and a political bonanza for the ruling Labor Party. The issue first raised by Labor MP, Jude Pereira, in the Victorian Parliament, had seen heated exchanges with the Coalition calling it Labor mess.

Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Finance Robin Scott made the announcement at the Dandenong Civic Centre amidst clapping by leading community members, MPs and Council officials.

The 2015-16 Victorian budget included $ 500,000 to create Melbourne’s first Cultural Precinct.

Mr. Scott said, “ This Precinct will become a hub of activity – hosting festivals, a draw card for tourism, supporting small businesses and boosting the local community in Dandenong.

“We will also create a second Indian precinct in Wyndham to grow and celebrate the large and thriving Indian community in Melbourne’s West,” he said.

The Minister also expressed his desire to attend the opening of the Precinct in Dandenong and celebrate the occasion with the Indian community.

Dandenong Member of Parliament, Gabrielle Williams said, “ We listened to the community members and groups to determine the best location for this precinct, and it’s a huge win for the people of Dandenong.”

Both Precincts will recognize the important contribution the Indian and South Asian communities continue to make to Victoria every day,” she said.

Talking to SAT, Minister Scott said, “ I want the Indian community to enjoy their culture and activities at the new Precinct just like the Chinese, Italian and Greek communities do in their precinct’s.”

The ‘Feasibility Study On A Location For An Indian Cultural Precinct’ by Acil Allen Consultants & SGS Economics & Planning said about Greater Dandenong, “ …The municipality best met the assessment criteria, in particular demonstrating a strong reediness to commerce.”

“ In contrast, at present Wyndham does not yet have a critical mass of co-located Indian and South Asian themed businesses that could form the foundation and basis of a cultural precinct in the traditional mold,” the Study says.

The campaign for Little India which culminated into the announcement of Victoria’s first Indian Precinct was backed and supported by many community activists and leaders including Mr. Manoj Kumar, ALP activist and leader and former Federal ALP candidate for Menzies, Mr. Aakash Kumar and Mr. Alok Kumar among others. Many others from non South Eastern suburbs also worked actively in the campaign. Though, Little India traders who were the effected party played an importanf role in the struggle.

Victoria is the home to Australia’s largest Indian community, with more than 111,700 India-born Victorians.

- SAT News Service.

Dumb, Drunk and Racist: Gupta defends his position


Mr. Gautam Gupta (left) and others in ABC2 serial ‘Dumb, Drunk and Racist’ SOURCE: ABC2

By our reporter

Melbourne, 10 July: Mr.Gautam Gupta, a practising hearing specialist and former leader of the Indian youth movement in Melbourne has defended his position on the controversial ABC TV series ‘Dumb, Drunk and Racist’. The series is exploring the notion if Australia is racist from an Indian perspective. The next part of the six-part series will be telecast on Wednesday 11 July on ABC2. It explores the Australian binge drinking culture.
Mr. Gautam Gupta has highlighted in one of the episode that in 2009 Indians were over-represented as victims of crime by almost 4 to 1. Joe, the presenter said that he was bashed in Dandenong and that Dandenong was unsafe in general. Gautam clarified that what Joe lacked in understanding was that the diversity and ethnic mix of Dandenong was very different when Joe was growing up. Indian students acted as a buffer and were, in fact, protecting the mainstream majority from being bashed. Hence the statistical over-representation.
He was questioned whether Melbourne was more unsafe than many Indian cities such as Meerut. To this Gautam replied that Australia cannot be compared to any under-developed or developing country. Melbourne in the most liveable city and it should be most liveable for everyone.
Some sections of the Indian community are concerned thinking Mr.Gautam Gupta has belittled India. SAT queried Mr. Gautam Gupta to clarify his position. He says his statement was not about India. It was about Melbourne and only Melbourne. He suggests India faces issues faced by many developing nations such as clean drinking water, corruption, lack of infrastructure etc.Most of these issues are absent in Melbourne. On most liveability indices, Melbourne is rated amongst the best in the world and hence Melbourne should be compared with only with cities such as London, Zurich and Oslo.
Mr. Gupta further said that he has always defended Indians and India for their achievements. I will continue to defend the right of every Indian in Australia he told SAT.
The serial can be viewed at http://www.abc.net.au/tv/dumbdrunkracist/episodes/ep03.htm.

Labor demands compensation for Little India traders

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.”