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