INDIAN-ORIGIN MAYOR IN PARRAMATTA
Melbourne: Just hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s touch down in Australia, the City of Parramatta in western Sydney elected its first Indian-origin Lord Mayor in May. Councillor Sameer Pandey, who was first elected to City of Parramatta Council in September 2017, has been serving as Deputy Lord Mayor since January 2022.
“Parramatta is home to a vibrant and diverse community and I’m excited to lead the City as it cements itself as Sydney’s second CBD and the focus of some of its most exciting opportunities,” Pandey said in a statement.
Pandey was scheduled to meet PM Modi in Sydney where the Prime Minister addressed more than 20,000 members of the Indian community at the Qudos Bank Arena Stadium. According to a Daily Telegraph report, Pandey was likely to discuss the ‘Little India’ precinct” at Harris Park, a suburb in Sydney, which has 45 per cent of its residents tracing their roots to India, and is home to many popular small and medium Indian businesses.
The Sydney precinct will be officially known as ‘Little India’ after the Indian community ramped up its efforts for the name change ahead of PM Modi’s visit. The Parramatta Council voted in April to support a scaled-back proposal, which will see Marion Street, Wigram Street, and Station Street East in Harris Park named as ‘Little India’.
The Council’s earlier attempts hit a roadblock after Australia’s Geographic Names Board (GNB) told Parramatta Council to stop using the term in marketing material because it “creates confusion”. Parramatta City councillor Paul Noack told SBS News that he expects the name to be official by the end of 2023.
Mr Modi last visited Australia in 2014, and addressed 20,000 people at the Sydney Super Dome at the Olympic Park.