By our community reporter
Melbourne: Finally, Liitle India traders in Dandenong won the battle. The Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu’s office intervened in the matter and clinched the issue. A letter to the traders association on 28th February brought the good news of compensation from Places Victoria. The compensation will be paid individually to traders for loss of business as a consequence of the Dandenong Revitalization Project.
The compensation news was announced by Little India spokesperson Kaushaliya Vaghela at a largely attended traders meeting. The welcome announcement was celebrated with sweets and all those who supported the movement were thanked. It was resolved to take things in their stride and move ahead to hold the Bollywood Festival at Little India on 15th April.
Talking to SAT, Mrs. Kaushaliya Vaghela said, “We are thankful and pleased the Victorian Premier Mr. Ted Baillieu intervened to get the traders compensation demand accepted”.
Last month following Premier’s super trade mission to India and importance of boosting trade with India, the Premier’s office got directly involved to end the ongoing issues and disputes between Dandenong’s Little India traders and Planning Minister Matthew Guy over a redevelopment by the Places Victoria.
The offer from the government to consider compensation came as Mr Baillieu visited Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai with 220 Victorian businesses as part of a mission to boost the state’s exports. A group of 37 traders at the Little India argued they were badly affected by the works and that plummeting foot traffic had seen their trade dry up. The traders demanded the government’s Places Victoria agency, which is their landlord, compensates them for the impact on their businesses.
Following the traders demonstration at the Victorian Parliament on 6th December, 2011, on Christmas day Mr. Matthew Guy, who was negotiating with the traders, offered them six months’ rent relief.
It was discussed in the community that the Premier’s office had to intervene because of lack of action on the part of the Planning Minister. He had said in the Parliament that the Little India issue was a mess left by Labor. But the danger of giving a wrong message in India during the trade mission made a solution possible. So, before the Premier left for India he instructed the issue be wrapped up with a solution.
The other factor was the ALP support to the Little India issue and its rising clout in the community. The trade mission blessing ceremony did not see any Lib attending giving a negative message. Obviously, Labor could not be blamed for this. The community was already discussing who was supporting and who was opposing on the social networking sites.
Manoj Kumar active in support of Little India traders feels “its great news and every Victorian must be happy to see protection of jobs of about 100 people and livelihood of 37 traders including the unique Little India multicultural icon.”
SOURCE: SAT, March 2012
By Neeraj Nanda
Melbourne, Dec 22, 2011: A Melbourne teenager has been sentenced to 13 years imprisonment for the killing of Indian overseas student Nitin Garg one year back. The teenager will serve minimum of 8 years imprisonment and after that will be eligible for parole.
Delivering the verdict, the judge said Nitin Garg was knifed with a folding knife for his mobile phone and that he “was an innocent and random victim” and it was his presence in the park, not his race, that led to the fatal attack.
The killing of Nitin Garg had led to diplomatic tensions between India and Australia. The tragedy came amidst many other attacks on Indian overseas students in Melbourne and Sydney. The attacks led to a dramatic decline in Indian students coming to Australia for studies.
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.”