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Meet the candidates of subcontinent background running in the Victorian Council Elections
Local council elections will be held for 78 of Victoria’s councils this October. Individuals are elected to represent your local municipality, and the number of councillors for each municipality is determined by the Minister for Local Government. Each municipality in Victoria must have a council consisting of between 5 and 12 councillors. These councillors are elected from various ‘wards’ to ensure proportional demographic and geographic representation for each council area. For most municipalities, once the required number of councillors has been elected, these councillors decide among themselves which one of them will act as mayor.
With a record number of candidates from subcontinental background running for office this election, we gave the opportunity to all candidates to tell us what they hope to achieve if elected as representatives of the people.
These are the candidates from Councils A-G, to view candidates from Councils K-W click HERE
View a list of all candidates HERE
We asked the candidates:
Why did you get involved in politics?
Why did you choose your party affiliation/to run as an independent?
What are you fighting for? What is your vision for the local area?
SUJAY CAPOOR, Boroondara City Council, Glenferrie Ward
I arrived in Australia as a young student from India many years ago. I initially lived and studied in Perth and then moved to Melbourne. Australia is the best country in the world. You just have to be willing to work hard and have a go. I have a postgraduate qualification in law, and work in a senior role in the Victorian Public Service. I am involved in several local community groups in Hawthorn. Along the way, many people have helped me in my journey, and that’s why I am here. This proves that anything is possible – so why not politics!
It’s all about the people and getting the right outcomes for them. Local government is about local issues so it’s best to keep politics out of it. I believe that in order to achieve the best results for the community, one needs an in-depth understanding of the issues, which comes from engaging with people one on one. For the past several months, I have been doing just that. Local residents much prefer an independent candidate, who understands their concerns, as opposed to a party endorsed candidate, who puts politics above anyone else. That’s why I’m running as an independent.
I want the best for Glenferrie. If elected, I will keep the rates as low as possible, provide reasonable and balanced planning solutions that are in line with community expectations, fight graffiti and vandalism, work on a long-term solution to address traffic congestion and inadequate parking on our local roads, ensure that our parks and footpaths are maintained, support small business owners, and work with the Council on bicycle infrastructure. These issues have been ignored and I will ensure that the residents get a fair say at the Council table. Local residents need better advocacy and representation. Glenferrie deserves better.
ASHOK MATHEW, Brimbank City Council, Taylors Ward
I decided to seek this position because I realise our wonderful council has come to a critical crossroad. We have grown considerably these past years, and we have reached a point where it is time for us to decide as a community what we want to become, where we want to go, and how we want to get there.
Never has it been more important to elect to the Council a person who can represent the community’s voice; someone who will act only in the best interest of the community and its bright future. I believe I am capable of meeting that challenge.
While I have held no prior political office, I have had the privilege of participating in many community activities, which has given me a thorough understanding of the community’s values and concerns. I have worked behind the scenes for many years to provide stewardship and protect the interests of the people of our local community.
I am here to stand for the community’s voice. I am an independent with no connection to a political party or political interest. Our community needs leaders with the right experience who can maintain transparency and principles of fairness.
Brimbank, the second largest Council, has all the potential to be the centre of the west, a premier location for diverse and innovative industries that support entrepreneurial leaders and a dynamic workforce. To reach this point, I will strongly advocate for:
*Safe and Secure Neighbourhoods – Subsidised surveillance cameras to all households
*Boosting Enterprises & Investor Relations
*Better Infrastructure & Amenities
*Better Social Care & Health
*Better Sports & Recreation Programs
*Programs to Strengthen the Community
RAY PERERA, Casey City Council, Edrington Ward
I have always wanted to make a contribution to the community that I live in and have been passionate about my area, the Edrington Ward in the City of Casey. I purely wanted to get involved in politics to work on behalf of my community. I have received so much from my community and as such I believe it is time for me to give something back.
I am not affiliated with any political party. I am an independent candidate.
I am fighting to:
*Eliminate waste – millions of dollars is being wasted by council and I want to stop it.
*Reduce Council rates and give ratepayers vital rate relief
*Provide Cheaper or free childcare
*Help For Small Business
*Small Business Start Up grants
PARAMPREET SINGH RAJPUT, Casey City Council, Mayfield Ward
I’m standing in this election because I am passionate about our community and I think I can make a valuable contribution to Council. My wife and I live in Lyndhurst and we are raising our two young girls here, so we are invested in its future. I run a successful local accounting practice and training institute. My business has provided me with an opportunity to meet many members of our diverse community, and put me in a good position to understand their needs and priorities.
As an accountant, I have an eye for detail, as well as a creative mind for solving financial problems. I can use these skills to help keep rates low and bring greater efficiency to Council operations and the annual budget.
My priorities for improving how Council operates are: keeping rates as low as possible; investing in community safety; making sensible planning decisions; better transport infrastructure to meet the needs of our growing community; advocating for more police resources in our area; and investing appropriately in community sport and recreation facilities.
If elected, I will strive to serve the community well and improve the quality of services and facilities in our municipality.
PRAVIN RAMDANY, Casey City Council, River Gum Ward
As a migrant I have continued to have a well rewarding career for the last 25 years. I have a beautiful wife and daughter. I asked myself this year, how can I be a man of significance? After days of reflecting, I realised that to be a man of significance is to contribute and grab the opportunity to give back to the community. “To do nothing I believe is wrong”
I took the opportunity to nominate myself for River Gum Ward, and with my background in business and passion for the community, my contribution will be an asset to the City Of Casey.
I am an independent candidate who wants to serve the city I live in. I am not a politician or serving a political party and using the council election as a pathway to go to state politics. If I am elected I will serve my local council and be faithful.
*Future Planning /Infrastructure – We need to have enough infrastructure to support our growing city.
*Encouraging economic prosperity by increasing business and employment opportunities for residents.
*Strong social infrastructure that will maintain and improve the standard of living and quality of life in Casey.
*Youth Outreach programs, this will reduce and prevent youth crime and violence on our society.
I will be a strong voice for integrity in the community and making sure ratepayers get the transparency they deserve
NAGARAJAN MURUGAN, Greater Dandenong City Council, Red Gum Ward
I got involved in this election to strengthen multiculturalism and give back to the community.
For this council election I have no support from a party, I am running as an independent to get Dandenong improved infrastructure, better planning, better neighbourhoods and new ideas.
I am fighting for:
*Better Community Services,
*Invest rate payers’ money wisely,
*Promote efficient council services,
*Strong economic development by working with state and federal levels to get Dandenong a fair share.
GAGANDEEP SINGH, Greater Dandenong City Council, Red Gum Ward
I have always been a big supporter of social service. I used to do social service in India, where I was born, and since coming to Australia in 2009 I have continued doing that. The reason I decided to choose politics is because sometimes voices are left unheard, especially in the case of minority communities. The problems that the community is facing are not heard by Council. The recent crime wave, especially in my council area, has left people terrified. The youth are going in the wrong direction and, instead of educating them and thinking of creative ideas to guide them, we are blaming different departments.
I am young, 27 years old, and belong to the Sikh community. I want to tell everyone that young people can also contribute towards the economy; it’s just a matter of taking a stand. We need young blood in politics to energise the way council works and be more creative and productive. I have chosen to run as an independent candidate as I think I can do better if I focus on the issues that people are facing in society, rather than focusing on aligning myself to a political party. I am a fresh face and will bring fresh ideas to the council to cater for the growing needs of the community.
There are a few problems that the general public is facing in the area, such as the parking problem, especially at Dandenong Hospital. There is not much parking and people who are often in need get fined by the inspectors. There is a big problem of internet in some areas especially Keysborough. Safety for citizens is also a big problem at the moment. My vision of Dandenong Council is a safe and sustainable living environment which involves increase parking spaces near Dandenong Hospital, more police patrolling the streets, and initiating talks with providers to upgrade exchange to provide better internet service.
ASH VERMA, Darebin City Council, Rucker Ward
“One of the Penalties for refusing to Participate in Politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors” Plato.
As a person of sub-continent background, I have felt the need for much more political participation in politics ranging from council, state and federal elections. I feel it’s my duty as a person of subcontinent origin to encourage, support and educate people to join mainstream politics. So, I have taken a step and hope a lot of people will follow.
It’s a dream for most of the candidates standing in the council elections to be supported by a national party, and I am fortunate enough that the Labor party has bestowed its trust in me to deliver and serve Labor values to the Darebin community. My values gel very well with grassroots work, fairness and equal opportunity, economic growth, improved medical facilities, social security, renewable energy, and these are in fact also an integral part of the Labor party.
It concerns me that Rucker Ward residents pay the highest rates in Darebin. This is especially harsh for residents on fixed incomes. Our community deserves a fiscally responsible council. The current 5-year plan calls for a 5% expense increase. The mandated rate cap at inflation makes this plan unworkable. We need a new council plan to repair the budget. As a candidate with a business planning and MBA background, if elected, I intend to bring a sustainable plan so that our city prospers.
SHAN JAYAWEERA, Glen Eira City Council, Rosstown Ward
It’s almost clichéd to say one enters politics to make a difference and that’s definitely the case for me. But it goes deeper than that too – we live in a time and climate where people of a different background are being maligned and the idea of a multicultural Australia is under attack. I have found this difficult given my Sri Lankan background. I think it is the time for people who have been here in Australia for a while to become visible and show that we have the same issues and concerns that most people do. What better way to do this than run for office and share our concerns and strive to come up with solutions for our future.
I am running as an independent and, to be honest, I don’t think party affiliations should enter into local government. How can you challenge a state or federal government on an issue when you are affiliated with them? Being independent means you can challenge both sides of politics to actually get things done rather than being beholden to the view of the party room. I know many people on both sides and being able to talk to them as an independent gives me freedom that many other candidates don’t have.
Rosstown Ward takes in the suburbs of Carnegie, Glen Huntly and Murrumbeena which have seen an enormous rise in the amount of high rise developments in the area. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing BUT I do think that the services, provisions and facilities that council provides haven’t matched the rate of population growth – which is a major concern as they are the ones rubber stamping the developments. The number of new units in the area is in the hundreds, so the area is getting a massive population increase, but we still have the same number of parks, the same number of pools, the same number of libraries and other amenities for that growing population. All the while our council rates seem to go higher and higher, but there’s no tangible benefits to the rate payer. I also feel we need more open parkland and more of a focus on the arts and culture.
To view candidates from Councils K-W click HERE