Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 25 July 2019
Page: 1077

Mr BYRNE (Holt) (16:30): On 20 April this year I was honoured to participate alongside Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, the mayor of the City of Casey, Amanda Stapledon, and the member for La Trobe in the official opening of the 32nd annual Australian Sikh Games at Casey Fields. This event was attended by over 130,000 people in two days. We collectively welcomed over 3,500 athletes who competed in over 14 sports during this year's Easter weekend. Attendance numbers reached an all-time high at this year's event, with Victoria Police and traffic wardens doing a great job dealing with that sort of crowd and the ancillary parking that resulted from it and confirming an attendance of 65,000 people on day 1 and over 70,000 people on day 2.

Participants and their supporters arrived from major cities and regional areas of Australia. Overseas participants had travelled from New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, India, Canada and the United States. A total of 232 teams participated in various sporting competitions, which is a record in itself. Sports like swimming and touch football were added to the games this year. The president of the Melbourne organising committee, Davinder Singh Garcha, stated that we had an AFL cup that was part of the Australian Sikh Games for the first time ever, and we even had men's and women's ICC T20 world cups that were on site for the games. Kabaddi was a major drawcard, but so was soccer. Soccer was the most popular sport, with 91 teams competing. Apart from that, 40 teams competed in volleyball, with hockey competitions being moved to another venue to accommodate all of the games.

The 32nd Australian Sikh Games was a wonderful community event. A total of $700,000 was raised by individual contributions from the Indian and Sikh community across Australia. I'd like to commend the Australian government for their grant of $120,000 for the Sikh Games. I also congratulate Daniel Andrews and his Victorian government for their grant of $220,000 for these games and the City of Casey, led by the mayor, Amanda Stapledon, for their grant of $50,000 and for providing brilliant venues such as Casey Fields for these games.

One of the highlights was the festival area that was created to cater for the large crowds, and there were massive crowds, as I've said. It included large-scale cultural and entertainment performances, as well as food stalls, which were provided absolutely free for everyone that attended the games. I especially wish to thank and congratulate a very unique individual, Amanjot Bedi, and his family from Melbourne, who served meals to all those who visited the games over the three days. That's 180,000 to 200,000 plates of food that were provided by the Bedi family, which is an amazing achievement. We can't thank the Bedi family enough for their outstanding contribution in providing that food to these games.

I also especially want to thank the hundreds of volunteers who were on hand when needed to serve food and to provide assistance during the sporting events. Sporting events like these just can't run without the support of volunteers, and I congratulate them on their community spirit. I also wish to thank and congratulate the SBS Punjabi team, who were at the venue, for their extensive coverage of these games during the Easter weekend. When I attended it was amazing to see the large crowds not only visiting the stalls but also watching the sporting events throughout the day.

We had good weather during the Easter long weekend, and it is claimed that, as a consequence of the crowds and the offerings from the sports and cultural stalls that were there, this 32nd annual Sikh Games at Casey Fields were the best ever. They were made possible by the tireless efforts of the organising committee, led by Davinder Singh Garcha, the president of the games organising committee, and the many volunteer organisations that helped. I also want to pass on a special word of thanks to the Sikh Volunteers Australia team, who did an amazing job to not only serve but also help with the clean-up and removal of rubbish from the venue.

In my constituency we have a large Sikh community, and it's great to see that they were able to attend these games at Casey Fields and also to participate at the Casey Stadium, Casey RACE, Bunjil Place, the Hunt Club and Clyde Recreation Reserve. The City of Casey, when it's mentioned, is not obviously associated with multiculturalism, but there is a growing group of communities from all over the world that are making Australia their home, making the city of Casey their home and doing it tremendously successfully. The City of Casey is starting to tell the story of the great movement of people from all over the world who are making Casey their home and making their life there. This is an outstanding example of a group of people who have done that and have contributed not just to their community but to the broader community through these games.