Indian Consul-General, Dr Sushil Kumar, visits Bendigo

Media release

The City of Greater Bendigo has today welcomed the Indian Consul-General, Dr Sushil Kumar, to the region to discuss opportunities relating to business and investment, growing international student numbers and promoting Bendigo as a destination to visit. 

Dr Kumar visited La Trobe University, Bendigo Tramways, Bendigo Art Gallery and Australian Turntables, and a luncheon was held including representatives from DJAARA, Bendigo Health, Bendigo Primary Care Centre, La Trobe University, Bendigo TAFE, Thales, Be.Bendigo, Bendigo Tourism, Deloitte and the Indian Association of Bendigo. 

Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said she was delighted to host the Consul-General in Bendigo. 

“We have a vibrant and diverse economy and already have a strong Indian workforce in a number of industries, including medical, IT and accommodation provision, so there are many opportunities to attract skilled workers to fill a range of roles in these and other sectors, such as advanced manufacturing and education,” Cr Metcalf said. 

“From the meetings today, I believe Dr Kumar has been able to get a great sense of the can-do nature of our local economy, the wonderful way in which local leaders work together and the various job opportunities that exist with the right qualifications.

“The City would be pleased to see more Indian students choose Bendigo for study and to ultimately stay in the community and make a life here. We have a growing Indian population and the Indian Association of Bendigo works very hard to ensure cultural events continue to be celebrated and embraced. 

“I hope this visit encourages further discussions between India’s and Bendigo’s leaders.”

Consul-General Dr Kumar thanked Cr Metcalf for hosting his official visit and said it was an opportunity to reaffirm bilateral relations between Victoria and India.

“This visit supports the Victorian Government’s India Strategy for strengthening ties in education, trade and tourism, and the Bendigo economy offers connections into skill development, vocational training and culture. I look forward to working closely with the City of Greater Bendigo to enhance opportunities for collaboration in agriculture, technology, health, growing a skilled workforce and tourism,” Dr Kumar said. 

“I also thank the Indian Association of Bendigo for facilitating this visit and to the Indian diaspora for its significant contributions in various sectors and forging strong ties in this region.”

The 2021 Census showed the Indian community is the largest culturally diverse community in Greater Bendigo based on country of birth.[1]

President of the Indian Association of Bendigo, Abhishek Awasthi, said the visit from the Consul-General was significant for the local Indian community.

“We were very excited to welcome the Consul-General and highlight the positive trend of Indian migration that Greater Bendigo continues to experience,” Mr Awasthi said. 
“A vast majority of the local Indian community are young families and couples who are looking to raise their families in Bendigo. However, a new trend that we have observed is that some people are starting to live in Bendigo due to its affordability and liveability, but continue to work in Melbourne and commute a few days a week. 

“We are seeing people attracted to roles with big employers like Bendigo Bank, Coliban Water, Bendigo Health, Bendigo Telco, Viatek and La Trobe University, and also running a number of local businesses like hotels and motels, takeaway shops and petrol stations. 

“It is fantastic to see how comfortable our community is in Bendigo and their commitment to supporting our local economy.”

Dr Mithun Shetty and his wife Dr Priya Naik, who own and operate Bendigo Smiles, attended the lunch to share their experience of opening a dental practice in Bendigo. 

“We have lived in Bendigo for 14 years. When we do advertise roles, applications are generally received via word of mouth, as the good word about living and working in Bendigo has certainly got out amongst our colleagues. Some clinicians have even moved from interstate,” Dr Shetty said. 

“We have a staff of 39 and approximately 30 per cent are from India. They all love the family-friendly atmosphere of Bendigo and the supportive community that we live in.

“It was wonderful to be part of an event that showcased the growth and contribution of the local Indian community to Bendigo, and to have the opportunity to discuss this with the Consul-General.”

Greater Bendigo