Sikh Council of Australia is a peak body of Sikhs in Australia, run by Sikh volunteers.
The need for an umbrella body, representing the needs of the Sikh community in Australia, which would unite Sikhs around Australia, in prayer and service to humanity and to be better members of the Australian Society, had long been felt. In 1999, an informal meeting of various Sikh organisations in Sydney was the first attempt towards development of this concept.
After further discussion, the National Sikh Council of Australia Incorporated (NSCA) was registered as a ‘not for profit’, religious body in 2002. Â NSCA aims to unite the geographically spread out Sikh Community in Australia, by providing a common platform for the various Sikh organisations to discuss issues and approach various projects as a combined effort, instead of approaching these issues locally, by individual organisations. Â This helps in sharing the vital resources (both financial and human resources), which are very limited.
While NSCA aims to unite and combine the effort across Australia, it does not interfere in the politics/operations of its member organisations. Â As the apex body of Sikhs in Australia, NSCA aims to protect and defend the interests of its member organisations and those of the Sikh community in Australia.
In order to achieve an efficient, professional and united approach in dealing with numerous issues that the Sikhs face in Australia, NSCA provides a ‘TWO-WAY’ communication channel between the community and the government/non-government agencies.
Sikhs living in various parts of Australia have formed associations in order to get together as a group. Although the reasons these groups are formed vary from religious, cultural, political representation and social service and the groups they target vary from the youth, the aged, families and new immigrants, they have many common objectives.
To achieve these objectives a lot of time, effort, financial, and other resources are often required. Being a minority, emerging community, the Sikhs do not have these resources. This is where NSCA, as a uniting approach, becomes critical. Not only does NSCA improve efficiency manifold by eliminating the duplication of resources and workload in achieving the common objectives but also, more importantly NSCA helps create a unified ‘TWO-WAY’ channel of communication between the Sikh community in Australia and the rest of the Australia. Â As an example, a federal department, such as the Department of Immigration and Citizenship prefers to deal with a body like NSCA where the communication can be disseminated to all relevant Sikh organisations (who then pass it on to the families, immigrants etc at a local level) rather than communicate with only one group of Sikhs. Similarly the collection of information by the government and other organisations becomes much more accurate when being received from an umbrella body like NSCA rather than only one group.
Although NSCA does not interfere in the management and organisation of its members, it can help in setting benchmarks, guidelines and best-practice management standards to help the members or prospective members who need resources in setting up or in the times of difficulty.
This approach helps managing and dealing with all types of situations in a consistent manner, which results in least confusion and maximising of the resources for both the Sikh community and government and non-government agencies who might want to deal with the Australian Sikh community.
NSCA also communicates with other Sikh organisations and relevant government/non-government agencies in order to achieve its objectives.
“Gurdwaras” (a place of worship, meditation and congregation for the Sikhs) are the heart and soul of the Sikh community. They are natural channels for two-way communication between the community and the Council, and for provision of support for national projects. Their membership of the Council is vital. In addition to the Gurdwaras, NSCA is currently approaching other Sikh organizations including those holding educational seminars and camps, setting up libraries, working on web-pages, publishing Sikh literature including books and journals, etc., join the Council as members and work in line with the overall mission of the Council.
To provide a united platform for the Sikhs in Australia for the purposes of liaising with the Government and non-Government agencies, with the aim of promoting the aims and objectives of its members towards a National Sikh Agenda.