Indian Support Centre inaugurated

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Subba Rao Varigonda (left) with dignitaries cutting the ribbon for newly opened Indian Support Centre


26 July 2015 was an important and an historic milestone for the Indian Australian diaspora of Sydney and NSW.   The day marked the formal inauguration of the Indian Support Centre (ISC) located at 2 Gilba Road, Pendle Hill.   A large number of Indian Australians attended this long awaited event.

Until now the Indian Australian community did not have any single point agency where community members could access Indian-specific services required by the community.   ISC is an initiative of the Council of Indian Australians Inc (CIA), a Sydney based umbrella-community organization.

The premise officially opened jointly by the Hon. David Clarke MLC and Secretary for Justice and The Hon. Dr Hugh McDormett, MP for Prospect.  Other members of parliament who attended included the Hon. Dr. Geoff Lee, MP for Parramatta representing the Hon. Mike Baird, Premier of NSW, Ms Julia Finn, Member for Granville and Mr Kevin Conolly, Member for Riverstone.  Other prominent people who attended the inaugural function included Councillor Susai Benjamin, John Kennedy – President of the UIA, Praful Desai – President CIA, Dr Tilak Kalra ”“ President of the Australian Hindi Indian Association, Dr Shail Chaturvedi ”“ former President of the Hindi Samaj, and other community leaders.

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In his opening address ISC President, Mr. Subba Rao Varigonda thanked CIA members and the NSW government for making this history-making event possible.   Mr Varigonda said, “Today the Indian community is making a history.   We are creating a facility where each member of the Indian Diaspora living in NSW can knock on the doors of this Support Center and be ableto seek and get support.”

“This facility will provide meeting facilities for various community organisations, point of contact for new arrivals into Australia, support for the unemployed and victims of domestic violence, assist senior citizens, and nodal point for the dissemination of information from/to the Indian Government and the Australian Government,” he said.

Mr Varigonda went on to say “While we achieved this milestone of establishing the center, the hard road is ahead. There will be an ongoing need for two most important resources ”“ a constant stream of volunteers, the much needed money.”

He urged each and every member of the Indian Australian community to lend support to make this project a success.   He also urged the Government and the Opposition alike to continue to support in the growth of this Center ”“ which is in an infancy stage.

The president then introduced the management committee of the ISC that includes Mr. Tony Colaco Vice President, Mr. Stanley D’Cruz Secretary, Dr. Sreeni Pillamarri Treasurer, and Members Ms. Jaspreet Chopra, Ms. Anupama Suri, and Mr. Leroy Magee.

Speaking on the occasion Dr Geoff Lee, MP for Parramatta and representing the Premier of NSW said “Australia can be wonderful country for living but can be lonely.   The Indian Support Center can make it a more lively and friendly place.”

He congratulated the Council of Indian Australians in making this a project a reality.   Earlier Dr Lee read out a message from The Hon Mike Baird, Premier of NSW in which the Premier hd written, “the Indian community is one of the fastest growing communities in NSW and congratulated the Council of Indian Australians in creation of the much needed Support Center”.

Dr (Hugh) Paul Joseph Hugh MCDERMOTT, Member for Prospect, speaking on the occasion said “I look forward to be an integral part of this center, visiting regularly and assisting in the growth of the Indian Support Center”.   He further said “ I would like this center to set an example of a well-run center to other similar community centers running in the Western Sydney region.”

The Hon David John Clarke, Parliamentary Secretary for Justice speaking on the occasion said “The Indian community in NSW is by and large a ”˜self-sufficient community’, and has a very low crime rate compared to other communities”.   He went on to say “this is a historic day for the Indian community and happy to be part of the inaugural celebrations”.

All the other members of parliament present on this occasion lauded the Indian community in general for their contributions in diverse fields, and hoped this Centre would provide the services required for its people.   All of them expressed their willingness to support this excellent cause.

Other community leaders – Mr. Praful Desai, President CIA Inc, and Mr. John Kennedy President of UIA Inc, Dave Passi, Secretary of the UIA, Vish Viswanathan and others spoke on the occasion and extended their full support in making this project a great success.

The formal vote of thanks was given by the ISC Secretary Mr. Stanley D’Cruz. He thanked the NSW government for providing the grant as seed capital to start the Center and CIA Inc for its efforts in making things possible.   He thanked all the Members of the Parliament and various sponsors and the attendees who came to witness a much needed milestone of the community.

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