Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan): Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the Rath Yatra celebrations organised by Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, BAPS, and also by the Gurukul Swaminarayan temple. Rath Yatra is a chariot festival in honour of Lord Jagannath, a grand celebration done in Odisha and other states of India. It is a cultural event and a stunning spectacle to watch the procession during the chariot festival. It is celebrated internationally by members of the Hindu community and creates a cultural platform for promoting solidarity and harmony. I congratulate BAPS and the Gurukul Swaminarayan temple for their hard work in organising the colourful Rath Yatra in my electorate.

On another note, it was a pleasure for me to attend the official launch of the Rabita environment and activity park. REAP is a project in Rockbank led by the Eritrean community, which also supports other migrant communities living in the western suburbs of Melbourne. The project involves a purpose-built community centre that is designed to accommodate various needs of these communities. I congratulate all the members of REAP for their achievements to date and wish them all the very best with the future stages of their project.

On a final note, this week marks the 75th anniversary of India’s independence. I take this opportunity to wish all Indians in Australia and abroad a happy Independence Day.