“Funding cuts to the NSW Multicultural Program can neither derail any projects in the long run nor are the cuts meant to do that,” says Hornsby Councillor Gurdeep Singh. “Most community projects are run with funds raised by volunteers and their networks in the community,” Singh says, “and, as such, it’s only a matter of time before associations and groups of interested individuals find ways to complete any work that might appear to be affected by government funding cuts. Government funding and subsidies are but a small percentage of any community project to be carried out by a community organization, and such funding is usually reimbursed to the beneficiary organisation in even smaller parts along the way as the project proceeds from one critical stage to the next.”
Singh, member and office holder of several leading community Associations, current Convenor and Secretary of the North Shore Sikh Association and a Vice President of INDAUS, says in all his time with associations, his organisations have never been the beneficiary of any government funding and yet he has been involved in quite a few community projects, including notable ones like the Turramurra Gurdwara(the Sikh Temple).
Singh says that funding cuts have become necessary because of the fiscal mismanagement by the previous governments both at the State as well as the Federal level. Belt tightening is required in order to bring the economy and the budget from being in the red to being in the black and to wear a healthy look. The promised handouts by the previous governments were used merely for political patronage with no regard for financial discipline. Singh is critical of the entire process and the timing of the announcement of some of the funding promises that happen closer to an election, and he also questioned the rationale behind “hand-outs” saying, “did any South Asian community really need these hand-outs? If some organisations are beneficiaries, how about others who may be equally, or even more, ‘deserving’ of these grants?”