By Neeraj Nanda
Melbourne, 25 October: Leader of opposition in Victoria and Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Hon. Daniel Andrews, today announced Labor will build an, ‘Indian Cultural Precinct’ in Melbourne, if elected to govern Victoria on 29 November, when Victoria goes to polls to elect a new government. The surprise Diwali gift was announced by Hon. Daniel Andrews at the Federation Square Diwali event, organised by the Celebrate India.
The historic announcement by Hon. Daniel Andrews was cheered by thousands of Diwali celebrants in the heart of the city. The announcement is being seen as a pre poll wooing of the Indian community as well as the culmination of the struggle of the ‘Little India’ precinct traders in Dandenong, which the Places Victoria has earmarked for redevelopment. The ‘Little India’ traders have been agitating for a long time demanding compensation for loss of business as a consequence of Places Victoria’s decision to get rid of the precinct. Labor’s announcement is expected to boost its chances further in the next month’s Victorian elections where it is already ahead of the Coalition in opinion polls.
In his announcement Hon. Daniel Andrews did not mention ‘Little India’ but said, “Victoria’s Indian community is Australia’s largest, but doesn’t have a precinct to call its own – Labor will fix this.”
He said, ” The Greek community celebrate in Lonsdale Street, there is Chinatown on Little Bourke, Lygon Street is richly Italian and the Vietnamese have Little Saigon in Footscray – Melbourne will now have an Indian cultural
precinct as well.”
“This will be a place to hold festivals, a hub to support businesses, a draw card to attract tourists – it will be a
meeting place for the entire community,” he said.
Mr. Andrews also said Labor will undertake a process to find the most appropriate location and what the precinct will
comprise of in consultation with communities and organisations.
Many Indians including Little India traders, community leaders and political activists who were present at the Federation Square expressed their happiness at the announcement.
An official media release from Hon. Daniel Andrews’s office is expected soon.
- SAT News Service.