Meet Vasalia Govender for Mitchell
If you are a voter residing in the South ward of Mitchell, this is why you may consider to vote for Vasalia Govender
What will be your top priorities if you get elected?
Rate relief as part of the COVID-19 recovery plan to help business and ratepayers and equitable distribution of funding across our shire, especially the often-ignored South Ward.
A review of the draft King and Queen Street master plan focusing on environmentally sustainable design principles outlined in Councils Environment Policy (2020).
Lobby state /federal government for proper funding for essential services and facilities to meet the needs of our growing population. Maximise grant opportunities.
Do you think your local council is appropriately representative of your community and its interests?
No, I do not believe that the local council appropriately represents community and its interests. For example:
- to be appropriately represented local council (and especially the South Ward of MSC) must include active participation and proper representation of people from different groups, for example, Indigenous people, youth and women.
- Wallan & Beveridge is growing not only in size but also diversity and to be appropriately represented we need people from CALD background on the council
- to represent the community’s need council needs to also transform beyond a narrow focus on ‘roads, rates and rubbish’ and deliver broader objectives to promote social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing for the whole of the community.
What would you like to say to a potential voter to vote for you?
I have been representing vulnerable people workers(including people with disabilities, injured workers and workers from CALD background, young and old workers) for 20 years as a health and safety representative and a union delegate. I was employed in the disability sector as a frontline essential worker for 23 years. We need people like me, the ones with the lived experience on the council representing us.
Vulnerable people in our community suffered the worst from the economic crisis brought about because of the pandemic. This is the turning point at which we begin to wake up to the crisis of their marginalisation. The 2020 COVID-19 Council elections go beyond who will be your local councillor, it is about unity, vision and leadership, representing our communities and values, gender and equality. Your vote is your voice on matters affecting you and our community and its future direction. You can help make a difference during this council election and join us in “Your vote, My Voice ” initiative and elect a progressive woman to stand up and speak up for vulnerable residents in our community. Your vote and my voice mean real power over policymaking and effective representation in local government.
As a member of the Victorian community do you think migrant communities are appropriately looked after by the mainstream political parties in Victoria?
No. We need more people from CALD background actively representing us in all levels of government. We need funding to support ongoing programmes for communities to keep their culture and language alive for example ethnic storytimes at libraries, increased hours of language teaching at government day schools, more emersion teaching(in line with the Victorian Multicultural Act 2011).
As Victorian of Indian/Asian descent what do you miss most about India / your country of origin here or what do you fondly remember?
I am from South Africa with an Indian background. I miss having my mum and siblings around me. Community spirit and the values of looking out for each other is what I miss the most. Growing up in an Indian community the phrase “it takes a community to raise a child ” was extended to adult/old age. There was always some to turn to for moral support/ help in general. Knowing that you could rely on close relatives and friends was a benefit to the wider society not just the individual.
Your assessment of the handling of COVID-19 crisis
Australia government favoured a suppression approach to responding to COVID 19 however perhaps adopting an elimination strategy like New Zeland could have helped. A concern of mine is that neglected communities for example migrant communities have been depicted as “ad hoc” engagement with suggestions that pandemic messages were not registering, particularly where English is not the primary language. Perhaps this is clear evidence of not only failings in governments advisory systems and understanding on how to provide the highest protection for the minority groups and providing an integrated response catering for all members of the community.