Reply to South Asian Times By HSV

Hindu Society of Victoria(Aust.)Inc.

We are writing this letter in response to certain allegations, misstatements and false rumours that were
made against the Hindu Society of Victoria( HSV)i n an article published in the April 2013 edition of the
newspaper South Asian Times, titled” immigration raid at temple in Carrum Downs.” On behalf of the
Management Committee I would like to provide the following information once and for all to refute the
Allegations made against the HSV.
Visit by the immigration Department Officials
This wasn’t a raid. Two officials from the immigration Department visited the Cultural Centre Canteen
(CHC) on the evening of 5 April. The officials interviewed not one person but three including one of the
Vice President (VP) of the HSV. The VP was informed that the visit by the officials were of routine nature,
inspection of employer premises who employ temporary visa holders. The VP was further informed that
the HSV was selected to be interviewed based on a tip off from some members of our own community.
During the interviews, the two employees and the VP fully cooperated with the officials. The matters
discussed during the interview are confidential. The officials also visited the temple and inspected the
living quarters of the temporary visa holders. The officials agreed to contact HSV ii further information is
required and HSV has not been contacted to date for any further information. HSV has also obtained
legal advice concerning the position of the employees from overseas working on religious worker visas.

Workplace Injury
There was b workplace accident in the kitchen and as a responsible employer HSV put the employee’s
wellbeing as the number one priority. HSV arranged the best private hospital with the best surgeon to
operate on the employee’s injured fingers. HSV members acted as the translator and provided transport
to and from the hospital at their own expense and time. The incident was subsequently reported to
work safe Australia and our insurers. They in turn met with the VP and inspected he kitchen.HSV also
engaged the services of a safety consultant through Work Safe and all their recommendation have been
implemented. The matter is in the hands of Work Safe /insurer and we are working with the insurer and the
employee to develop a ‘return to work’ plan. All medical and post injury payments are met by the insurer.

Employment dues and Entitlements
These are false allegations by one employee with a temporary visa who was involved in the accident in
the kitchen (described above). HSV vigorously denies any such breaches of the Fair ‘Work Australia’
guidelines. The honorary solicitor of HSV has requested the employee’s solicitor to substantiate his
claims of any breach to be reconciled with the records of the society and have the matter attended to if
there are any under payments. Now it is almost 5 weeks gone and no response has been received. A
further 7 days has been granted for any response.

Cultural Centre Construction Cost
National Australia Bank_(NAB)agreed in principle to fund the project and appointed its own professional
Quantity Surveyors (QS) to verify the plans prepared by HSV. The initial cost estimated by the
Independent QS was $15.83 million. Nowhere it was ever stated or quoted that the Cultural centre
was going to cost $5.5 Million as alleged.
The HSV’s Technical Committee later reduced the scope of works such as road works, front side
decorative works, carpets and using kitchen equipment from the old cafe etc. Accordingly the QS revised
the total project cost down to $9.9 million. During the construction process HSV added many extras
(which were not in the initial plan, cost of $9.9 million) including framing & tracks for the museum
artefacts, associated museum set up costs, granite tiles from India, tile laying costs, decorative columns
inside the hall, furniture and fittings such as the dining tables & chairs, security, street lighting, storm
water tank, upgrading of the back car park and the capitalised interest costs during the construction
period etc.
NAB reimbursed HSV for cost incurred only after the bank appointed independent QS certified the actual
works completed and works yet to be completed. The QS physically visited the site and once satisfied,
the QS forwarded the clearance to NAB’s Engineer( Construction Risk Manager)w ho further scrutinised
the works completed and approved it for reimbursement o HSV. In doing so HSV was required to submit
the following:
• Certificate from HSV’s Architect
• Certificate from HSV”s Quantity Surveyors regarding stage of works completed.
• Statement of works completed and not paid for by the HSV’s Chairman of the Technical
• Committee( responsible for the construction of the CCP).
• Statutory declaration from the HSV Treasurer for, above.
• Submission by independent QS to NAB with all completed documentation to release the
Payments to HSV.
NAB adopted this process for each progress claims or draw downs and over the construction period there
were in excess of 9 claims / drawdown.
HSV acknowledges that the cash flow is tight and the Management committee is carefully managing the
financial situation of the HSV with the help of the dedicated volunteers and devotees. All major subcontractors
have been paid and currently HSV owes mainly the retention money (due for release Apr/May
2013) to few suppliers for which HSV has entered into a monthly repayment plan. HSV has commenced
Servicing the bank loan and HSV is meeting all its financial obligations.

External audit demanded by the Directors of HSV Cultural Centre Pty Limited
An auditor can only be appointed by the members of the HSV to audit the accounts and other affairs of
the Society; it is a constitutional appointment b y the members of the Society. The Management
Committee of the HSV is seeking legal opinion on the matters associated with the audit demanded by
some of the Trust directors.
The biggest concern the Management Committee has with this newspaper article is the motive of the
people who obviously have to be some members to provide these inaccurate information to tarnish the
good reputation of the HSV, the devotees and the volunteers. Further action concerning such conduct is
under consideration. The Management committee is committed to running a transparent Hindu Society. lf
you have any concerns or require additional information please write to me.
Yours truly,

R. Jeyakandan
Secretary, Hindu Society of Victoria Inc,

President: Ragu S. Pendyala 0414 252 21; email: president@hsvshivavishnutemple.org.au
Secretary: Jeyakandan 0451513094: email: secretary@ hsvshivavishnutemple.org.au

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About noelnadesan

Commentator and analyst of current affairs.
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