By Dr Indrani Ganguly, Public Relations Officer

THE Federation of Indian Associations of Queensland Inc. (FICQ) is now moving into its twentieth year and would like to take this opportunity to thank both past and present Presidents and Executive Members of FICQ, its member organisations, patrons and friends continue to enable Queenslanders of Indian origin to espouse and follow the ideology of “thinking globally and acting locally”.

People of Indian origins have had a long-standing commitment to multiculturalism as evidenced in India’s history, traditions, constitution and political arrangements. These strengths have enabled FICQ which was formed in 1998 to successfully provide a key conduit for the Indian Communities to engage in and contribute to the multicultural political, economic, cultural, sporting and social fabric of Queensland.

The vision, hard work and dedication of FICQ Executive Committees, member organisations, patrons and volunteers have had rich dividends. Two decades after its inception, FICQ is recognised by all levels of government, the non-government sector and the private sector as the peak body in Queensland for all associations, organisations and societies representing people of Indian origin from countries around the world including India, Fiji, South Africa and Malaysia.

FICQ’s pre-eminence is demonstrated through its becoming the key point of contact for important networking opportunities with senior Ministers, elected representatives from local, state and federal governments and senior executives of key government departments, members of other community organisations and leaders from the private and non-government sectors. FICQ has played a key role in encouraging all member and key individual and Indian organisations representatives to take part in the annual Premier’s reception in Queensland Parliament. FICQ provides a platform to contribute to Government policy debates through supporting eligible individuals from member organisations to nominate for the Multicultural Queensland Advisory Council and take part in other significant discussions with all levels of government and non-government organisations.

It is also the facilitator for ongoing dialogue with the Indian Government through its representatives for the High Commission of India in Australia (HCI) in Canberra and the Honorary Consul in Brisbane. FICQ hosts regular well-attended meetings with visiting Indian dignitaries and senior civil servants to discuss ways to strengthen ties between Indians resident in Australia and their country of origin.

Executive Committee members have had the opportunity to influence the broader national agenda through attending meetings of the Confederation of Indian Associations in Australia being held in major cities in Australia.

In the last decade, FICQ has enabled members to participate in important one-off events such as G20 and the forum for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at City Hall.

FICQ is also the organiser of important events in Brisbane. Member organisations can showcase their cultural heritage and talents of members to the wider Australian community through participation in annual FICQ organised events such as Diwali which is now recognised as a signature event: The support provided by the State and Local Governments, the attendance by dignitaries from all levels of government and the business sector and the annual lighting of City Hall is testimony to the significance of Diwali to Brisbane’s cultural landscape.

FICQ also organises the Annual Joint Australia – India Day celebrations in various locations to commemorate the most unique joint celebration, Australia Day and Indian Republic Day on 26 January.

FICQ continues to support showcasing of Indo-Australian heritage through enabling member organisations to publicise their events through FICQ’s web-portal, email communications and social media pages. Executive Members also show their support in person through attending events organised by member organisations and other community organisations including the India Independence Day, Sudirman World Cup for Badminton, World Yoga Day, installation of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue, monument to honour Australians of Indian Heritage who fought in World War 1..

Economic benefits for member organisations include significant cost savings through FICQ’s group public liability insurance cover scheme. FICQ is also able to negotiate with wholesale suppliers and event management companies to supply goods and services for discounted rates for member organisations. Members can also access FICQ’s Public Address system for their events and celebrations through a simple registration process and a nominal security deposit. If requested, FICQ can provide supporting or reference letters for member organisations for their grant applications or important initiatives and events.

Readers who are interested in how they can contribute to create a stronger foundation to Indian communities in Queensland through FICQ should contact Mr Palani Thevar, President, FICQ, on email president@ficq.org.au or Mobile: +61 421 656 000.

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