In a meeting with Indian community representatives on Monday, Premier Daniel Andrews heard business proposals to drive closer engagement across priority sectors focusing on culture, education, health, innovation and technology.
Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews gave his nod to the Indian community’s proposal to illuminate iconic landmarks across Melbourne to mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the first Guru and founder of Sikh religion.
Reiterating his commitment towards hosting the biggest celebrations of the birth anniversary outside India, Premier Andrews told SBS Punjabi that “It would be a moment of pride for Victoria to host the celebrations and something that would make us very-very happy."
During a meeting with the Indian community representatives organised by the Australia India Strategy Group (AISG) in Melbourne on Monday, the Premier proposed to set up a working committee to work out the logistics ahead of the celebrations in November.
He also gave a go ahead to the proposal of organising langar (free community meals) in schools and at least two big venues in the CBD in the run up to the anniversary, an announcement that was received amid huge cheers from the community leaders.
In addition, community group AISG said it would collect at least 550 organ donation pledges and announced a blood donation drive to commemorate the teachings and philosophy of Guru Nanak.
The Victorian government has allocated a fund of $200,000 for the celebrations, a sum which was promised by the Premier in September 2018, during his previous tenure.
Meanwhile, a slew of business proposals were also tabled by Indian entrepreneurs including one for improving job prospects and road safety for international students. Other ideas included providing agricultural subsidies to farmers, transport solutions and artificial intelligence.
Responding to the proposals, the Premier said the Indian community has many potential business ideas that need to be explored.
“The Indian community itself is so talented we need to we need to tap into that talent and all Victorians need to benefit from that,” Mr Andrews told SBS Punjabi.
“It is right to sit and listen to so many good ideas about what the next part of the agenda should be,” he added.
However, the Premier said that the government’s top-most priority at this point is to deliver on the promises that were made in the run up to last year's state elections.
“The most important thing to do obviously is to deliver on all the commitments we made in the election year - be it the aged care facilities, the community language schools and funding for festivals and events,” said Mr Andrews.