It’s also time to have a real discussion around immigration, says Sunny P Chandra, Independent Candidate from Victoria
“The time has come for effective and efficient leadership in the Senate,” says Sunny P Chandra, who has announced he will be standing as an Independent Candidate from Victoria for the Federal Senate in the upcoming elections.
Sunny has lived in Regional Victoria for many years and is passionate about giving back to the community. His key policy of managing immigration for regional growth in Victoria will see real jobs, real investment and real development of our State.
“As we move to build stronger regional towns we will ease urban congestion. This will reduce traffic, lower house prices and reduce the cost of living in the City,” says Sunny, a graduate from IIT Kanpur. Sunny migrated with his Australian-born wife and their young family to Australia, and was conferred citizenship was conferred in 1975. His professional career in IT senior management spans 35 years in Adelaide, Sydney and Canberra. He is also the founder/ CEO of medium size business Triveni Infotech in Melbourne with on-line clients for its proprietary database solutions, across all States in Australia.
Sunny’s experiences in Immigration and small business have led him to believe that his policy of redirecting international students to the Regional areas is economically sound and at no cost to the taxpayer. He has developed a unique proposal combining international students, Immigration and regional opportunities, which could assist regional growth and development, reduce urban congestion, and channel funds into the Region at no cost to the taxpayer.
The Indian Sun in conversation with Sunny Chandra…
★ What were the immigration policy changes announcing this month?
The Scott Morrison government has announced it will reduce the number of migrants of immigrants coming into Australia. The Morrison government will cap permanent migration at 160,000 and will introduce newly skilled worker visas that require a person to live in the regional areas for three years as a pre-condition for permanent residency. These policies are not in place yet and with an upcoming federal election, the government will need to be re-elected in order to pass them.
★ Why is this not a good policy?
This kind of policy announcements is made to purely satisfy the far right in the community who see migration as the cause of all the current issues facing us now. To label migration as the problem is incredibly short-sighted and lacks reasonable economic planning. We cannot simply reduce the number of migrants coming to Australia and force those people who are here to resettle into regional areas. Cutting migration numbers do not address the issue of our ageing population, nor does it address the issue of inner-city congestion and the economic problems that come with it. Reducing the number of migrants will also reduce the productivity of the nation, as the nation struggles to deal with labour shortages and a slowing economy. It is not fair to send new migrants to regional areas when there isn’t the infrastructure in place to support them. Families need homes, children need schools, and everybody will need adequate access to services. As it stands some regional areas don’t have the capacity to service an influx of new residents. It is far more economically responsible and feasible to relocate the student population to regional areas.
★ Why should international students go to the regions?
With an influx of students into regional areas of $10 billion raised in revenue could go towards building the infrastructure such as roads schools’ medical facilities etc, which regional townships desperately need. As the student population increases so do their connection to the townships. And it is through these connections that these students will become part of the community working in local businesses contributing to the local economy and helping regional areas thrive.
★ How will we cover the cost to establish private colleges?
As most of your readers know international students must attend a college. These colleges are privately owned. This privately-owned establishment will need to relocate to the region in order to qualify for their certification at present there is no need for all these colleges to be in the city or in urban areas this in part is leading to inner-city congestion overcrowding roads and public transport and housing affordability issues. The relocation of these institutions will come with an incentive for the opportunity to enrol more students. Currently, some institutions are at capacity which not only limits the number of students that the colleges can accept but it also limits the number of students we can accept into the state. With more space comes more capacity to accept a greater number of students into courses. Of course, priority will be given to courses where there is any existing skill shortage.
★ What is your position on migration and regional growth?
While I am happy that the Government wants to invest in the regions this is simply a knee-jerk reaction to urban congestion and poor planning. At present, the infrastructure is not in place to accommodate an influx of immigrants, skilled or not. And furthermore, it would be costly to taxpayers. My policy would see international students given incentives to relocate to regional areas. International students bring approximately $10 Billion into the state each year. My plan is to redirect those funds to the regional areas. Education is an extremely successful revenue stream for the nation. Reducing those numbers would be detrimental to the economy. There is no point in denying that we need skilled and unskilled labour in the regions. My key policy is to encourage people to the regions by offering them incentives towards their permanent citizenship. This way we can fill the shortage gap in the region’s, help to populate these areas and will create a cohesive community where everybody is respected and appreciated. International students bring a wealth of enthusiasm and cultural diversity. It is this cultural diversity that helps to build a sense of community and a sense of connectedness to these regional areas.
Once students become familiar with their new environment, they will inevitably bring job opportunities, fell create their own employment opportunities and the boost to tourism as family and friends come to visit them will ultimately see job growth and any increased revenue from existing business owners many of whom have struggled. Having the colleges relocate at no expense to the taxpayer means that existing members of the regional communities can focus on building stronger businesses and identifying what resources need to be managed for the incoming influx of students. With students coming into the regions there will be an increasing demand for accommodation, hospitality and other local services.
Part of my policy is to ensure that communities are ready and able to accept the volume of students that will come into the region. Regional community towns have always existed on the values of mate-ship and community. That means that we prepare the communities for the business boom that they will receive. This means that we need to ensure that whatever government wins at the next election, whatever election promises are made to the regions are honoured and upheld. This would mean that the commitment to funding more public transport development would go ahead. There’s been lots of discussion about getting more public transport out into regional growth areas. And I would want to see that election promises upheld.
★ What does regional growth need to succeed?
For the regions to thrive they need growth in population and an increase in revenue. The problem lies that one cannot happen without the other. So, to help begin this change we must use the existing revenue streams that we have access to. This means redirecting educational revenue, generated by international students to the regions. Having these colleges relocate to the Regents will help with both population growth and revenue.
★ How can readers support your campaign?
We are always looking for support and volunteers within the community. Whether it be distributing flyers, hanging a poster in your shop window for supporting us and social media there are many ways that people can support my campaign. Signing up to our newsletter or on our website is one way of keeping informed and up-to-date on our campaign progress.
Sunny side up
Sunny enrolled in Victoria University to qualify as a Registered Migration Agent in 2009, and then established SUNMARG Migration Australia that year. He now handles a wide spectrum of complex immigration matters including doing pro bono work for refugees and domestic violence cases.
He is also Fellow, Australian Institute of Company Directors (FAICD); Member, Migration Institute of Australia (MMIA) and Migration Alliance (MMA).
Between 2013 and 2018, Sunny dabbled in the restaurant business with a cafe in Coburg. “It was an unpretentious small business employing immigrant and local workers,” he says.
He is active in the Australian community—Member, University of the Third Age (U3A); ex-President of Rotary Club of Noarlunga (South Australia, ex-Justice of the Peace (JP) and ex-Board Member, South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission (SAMEAC)
He is also a member of several Indian community organisations—Charter Member The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE); Founding Member NRISA (Northern Region Indian Seniors Association); Life Member IITaV (IIT Association of Victoria); Committee Member AIBC (Australia India Business Council); Contributor, Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) Hindi Language Radio.