The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) welcomed last night’s budgetary announcement of the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman to fund our organisation with an allocation of $5 million in the 2019-2020 Federal Government Budget.
“We welcome the announcement made by the Prime Minister Morrison and Minister Coleman for the $5m funding to our organisation in the Federal Government Budget,” said Mr Bill Papastergiadis, president of the GCM.
“This is the largest grant that any Government has ever made to a Greek community organisation in Australia. We are honoured and proud to be the recipient of this funding.”
Announcing the funding to GCM, Minister Coleman said:
“The Morrison Government has committed $5 million in the 2019-20 budget to the Greek Community of Melbourne.
“The funding will be used for two priority projects – the Greek Centre Hub in Melbourne and a Hellenic Chair in Global Diasporas at the School of Culture and Communications at the University of Melbourne, both with an estimated cost of $2.5 million.
“The Greek Centre Hub will be a meeting point and function space for Melbourne’s multicultural community, with a particular focus on engagement with seniors and youth groups.”
Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said the funding would build on the significant contribution of GCMV.
“This funding will greatly enhance the work of the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria.”
“The Greek community of Australia have a long and proud history of contribution to our nation and the Greek Centre Hub will be a place to meet, collaborate and cooperate,” Mr Coleman said.
The GCM will also embark on a partnership with Melbourne University to establish the Hellenic Chair in Global Diasporas, located at the School of Culture and Communications at the University of Melbourne.”
Bill Papastergiadis said the announcement of the funding was a recognition of the contribution of the Greek community to Australia.
“This funding will position us to lead research in the field of Global Diaspora, coordinate the teaching of Greek Language and engage with the wider public on the relevance of Hellenism and Global Diasporas.”
“The Hub will also create a wonderful space that will ensure that the Greek community in Australia continues to thrive, and it’s magnificent that the Government recognises the legacy of our community” Mr Papastergiadis said.
The funding commitment follows a recent visit to the Greek Centre of Contemporary Culture in Melbourne by Prime Minister and Minister Coleman.
“For over six months we have had detailed discussions with the Prime Minister and with Minister Coleman”, noted Mr Papastergiadis.
“In fact, the discussions first commenced with Minister Tudge, the former Minister of Immigration, almost one year ago when we met at the Greek Centre.
The PM and Minister Coleman have been very intent in funding education programs in Victoria. The GCM put to the Government the need to work with Melbourne University to fund a University teaching program for the Greek Language.
“I told the PM and Minister Coleman, that education is the key to a community’s prosperity and that there was significant concern that the teaching of the Greek language at tertiary level would disappear in Melbourne,” he added. “I also explained that the multiculturalism was the backbone of this country and that the Greek community would also look to broader its University initiative to ensure that the University Chair also included a western civilisation component and focus on diaspora and multiculturalism.
“As I said to the PM the other day at the Greek Centre “Australia is the global example of multiculturalism, and we would like to think that the Greek Community of Melbourne is the shining light of multiculturalism in Australia.”
This funding for the University Chair will cement GCM as the leading provider of education and knowledge in the Global Greek diaspora. The University Chair will add to our already extensive education programs which includes, theatre, music, dance programs along with 13 afternoon schools, and Alphington Grammar.
“Equally important, we emphasised to the PM and to Minster Coleman that the Federal Government match the state Government’s $2.5m grant towards the Greek Community of Melbourne commencing a new city centre that will focus on our organisation’s ability to continue to provide a facility for our work with the youth and elderly,” explained Mr Papastergiadis. “We will be purchasing a new building to continue our services and functions and to expand the Greek Community within the centre of Melbourne.”
Mr Papastergiadis thanked the Federal Government for locking up the funding in the Federal Budget.
“We thank the Federal Government for locking up these funds in the Federal Budget so that it takes away any concerns as an election promise,” he said.
“The hard works which this organisation has undertaken for over 122 years by many people is being respected and rewarded by our Government. The reality is that many people over a long time have created the foundations for us to continue this good work.”