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Victoria to support more Hindu festivals with $200,000 funding

Performers pose for photograhs during Diwali celebrations at Federation Square in Melbourne. Source: AAP

The Victorian government will fund 25 new projects in 2019-2020 from its new round of funding for multicultural events in the state.

The government of Victoria has decided to fund more Hindu festivals over the next four years and allocated $200,000 for it.

The state's Multicultural Affairs and Social Cohesion Division has announced that it will support festivals like Holi and Basant Panchami in the coming four years.

Up till now, the grand annual Diwali celebration at Melbourne’s Federation Square, had been the most visible benefactor of the Victoria government’s support, making it a much-awaited calendar event.

But from now on, the scope of this funding will expand to other festive events of significance to the Hindu community as well.

Richard Wynne, Victoria's Minister for Multicultural Affairs, told SBS Punjabi, “Premier Daniel Andrews visited Shri Durga Temple at Rockbank last year, where he promised to invest $200,000 in this fund, if re-elected."

As a start to this four-year plan, as many as 25 new projects have been funded in this financial year by the 2019-20 Hindu Festivals and Events Fund, which, according to the state government, is a “fulfilling a key election commitment”.

Holi at Sri Durga Templ
Holi celebrations at Sri Durga Temple in Melbourne.

Launched by the government of Victoria in July, $200,000 has been allocated to this fund to support Hindu celebrations over four years. Diwali at Federation Square is funded by a separate fund of $500,000 over four years.

Speaking about the growing numbers of the Hindu community in Victoria, Minister Wynne said, “Victoria is proudly multicultural. We celebrate our differences. This fund is about making it easier to share Hindu values with the broader Victorian community.”

The projects funded in 2019-2020 include the Holi Festival to be celebrated in Ballarat and the Basant Panchami-Saraswati Puja Festival in Wyndham in Melbourne’s south-west.

Mr Wynne said, “Victoria has a proud and rich history of multiculturalism – and our Hindu Victorian community is a huge part of that.”

“We’re pleased to be able to support this community through specific funding, so that all Victorians can get out and celebrate Hindu culture and traditions,” he added.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Hinduism had the most significant growth between 2006 and 2016, driven by immigration from South Asia’.

The 2016 census data shows that Hinduism has emerged as the fourth largest religion in Australia, with 440,300 people stating that they follow it. This equates to nearly 2 per cent (1.9 per cent) of the Australian population belonging to the Hindu faith and represents a growth of roughly 150 per cent over 10 years. 

The second-largest population of Hindus in Australia lives in Victoria, where this financial support by the state government has been given.

New South Wales is by far the state of choice for most Hindus of Australia, with 181,402 calling it home, Victoria houses 134,939. Queensland comes third with 45,961 Hindus, followed by Western Australia, with 38,739 residents who follow the Hindu faith. South Australia has 22,922 Hindus, ACT comes next with 10,208, followed by Northern Territory with 3,562 and Tasmania with 2,554.

In the 2011 census, Hinduism was declared as the fastest growing religion of Australia. The 2016 census registered a growth by 0.6 per cent again.  

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