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May 29, 2009 at 02:15am IST

Oz ambassador assures crackdown on racism

New Delhi: The recent spate of attacks on Indian students in Australia has become a amtter of worry for all concerned.

Australia invests 3.5 million dollars to attract Indian students every year and such incidents could hurt the campaign to make it a dream destination for academic pursuits. Australia's High Commissioner in India John McCarthy told CNN-IBN how Australia plans to deal with the problem.

John McCarthy told CNN-IBN's Deputy Foreign Editor Suhasini Haidar that his country is working for a quick and permanent fix to the horrific problem of racial attacks on Indians.

John McCarthy: Our reaction was very strong, too. Our Foreign Minister said he was appalled by the incidents and equally our Minister of Education has expressed her very serious regrets that this has taken place in Melbourne. It had taken place actually in her own electorate. Both have come out very strongly and very publicly.

CNN-IBN: How are you going to really convince if you like or make sure that people feel safe to go to Australia, especially, there are many Indian students that go there.

John McCarthy: You are quite right. There are some 93,000 Indian students in Australia right now. So, it is a serious issue for us and we are taking it very seriously. I think, first the police are working intensively on seeking to sort out the criminal aspect of it. Equally, the Ministry of Education, Federal and State have set up mechanisms. There's also a hotline that is being established in which students can talk in either English or Hindi to volunteer counsellors who can give them advice. And ofcourse there are institutions available to give them advice. But rest assured, this is being taken care of very seriously in Australia.

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