The Premier of Victoria, John Brumby, on Thursday assured students that they were welcome in the south-eastern Australian state and outlined the Government’s actions to improve the experience of international students living there.

Addressing students at Delhi University’s St. Stephen’s College, Mr. Brumby said: “Victorians come from more than 200 countries of origin, speak more than 230 languages and dialects?And one of those countries is India. Victoria’s 50,000 strong Indian community is a vital part of modern day multicultural Victoria.”

The Primier indicated that the Victorian community and the Victorian Government had taken several “practical actions” to reaffirm the State’s commitment to multiculturalism and to improve the experience for international students.

“Education is a major focus area of my trip here. That’s because the majority of Victorian exports to India are services or skill-based, and education is our biggest export earner and India our biggest market for education exports,” the visiting dignitary said.

“We want to build on these successes, which is why I will, tomorrow, be unveiling a package to strengthen Victoria’s international education sector, and boost services for overseas students.”

Mr. Brumby highlighted some of the measures adopted for the benefit of students.

“We are trialling a new international students’ care service, which will enable international students to get support and assistance 24 hours a day when they need it. We have also introduced into the Victorian Parliament, the Sentencing Amendment Bill 2009, to explicitly list hatred and prejudice of people who share common characteristics as a factor that must be taken into account by judges when sentencing,” he said.

Mr. Brumby added that the police were equipped with additional powers to search for weapons, move people on from trouble spots, and to fine people on the spot for disorderly conduct.

Additional transit police will also be deployed on the public transport network.

“The violence we have seen in Melbourne over the past few months is of great concern to us, and we are doing everything in our power to ensure the actions of an ignorant few do not undermine our relationship and the reputation Melbourne has as a peaceful and friendly city.”

Later, the Premier had an interaction with some students in the Principal’s room.

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