Ajay Pasupulate, 42, migrated to Australia 15 years ago. He now calls Taylors Hill home and was one of 16 ‘active’ community members to be profiled as part of Melton council’s I belong exhibition.

 

What’s your connection to Melton?

I built my first house in Taylors Hill in 2010 and I’m still living there. I’m also building my second house in the Melton township.

 

What’s your favourite thing about living in Melton?

It’s very secure here and the people are very friendly. Where I live, there are all different nationalities and my neighbours are all very friendly people. I also like the parks, the recreational facilities and there are plenty of options for kids’ schools.

 

What would you change about the area if you could?

I don’t think much needs changing … but I can say the roads need to be improved and more traffic signals for pedestrians.

 

Where’s your favourite place to hang out in Melton?

The Caroline Springs lake – that’s my favourite. I also like the farms at Bacchus Marsh. Bacchus Marsh is a hilly area and when we’re driving back towards Melton, there are lots of beautiful sceneries. The kids enjoy picking fruit.

 

What does “belonging” mean to you?

Belonging for me is about diversity. We all come from different nationalities – even in the same family, people are different. But it’s about oneness.

 

What has been the hardest part about adjusting to life in Australia?

It was difficult to a get a professional job initially – it took me a while to get into my profession. I studied a bachelor of commerce and a diploma in information technology back home in India. When I came to Australia, I studied my masters and did some certificate courses related to my profession. But a lot of IT jobs were being outsourced overseas. That’s why it’s been hard for me to find a job in Melbourne, so I’m working in Canberra and come back home every once in awhile.

 

What’s made your journey to adjusting to Australian life a lot easier?

Starting my own business. When I couldn’t find jobs in my field, I decided to start a landscaping business. It was important for me to be able to work and provide for my family. I built up a team and did a lot of landscaping work in Melton and Wyndham.

 

What do you think needs to be done to promote a more tolerant, respectful and harmonious society?

Local, state and federal governments need to support community groups trying to celebrate diversity and multiculturalism. I hold family-friendly festivals in Rockbank twice a year, so I always need support from the council.

 

The I Belong exhibition was part of Melton council’s Cultural Diversity Week (March 18-26) celebrations.