The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) has over the past few weeks focussed on developing a coordinated response for Greek citizens without Australian rights navigating the COVID19 pandemic alongside the response to its own affairs.
In doing so, the GCM has been in close consultation with the Victorian and Australian Governments, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, professional groups and various community organisations and community advocates.
A summary of these meetings and their outcomes follows.
MEETING WITH THE HON ALAN TUDGE
GCM President Bill Papastergiadis OAM and Hon Secretary Costas Markos met with the Acting Federal Minister for Immigration, the Hon Alan Tudge. The meeting discussed many matters affecting the broader Greek community but in particular focussed on the plight of Greek temporary residents in Australia who fall outside of the various Government programs being introduced to support the broader Australian population.
The Minister undertook to look at the GCM’s proposals in the unprecedented time.
APPEAL TO THE GREEK STATE
The GCM has written to the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis raising the issue of Greek citizens in Australia on short term visas.
Further, the GCM President spoke to the Greek Minster of the Interior, Mr Theodorikakos with whom he also raised the plight of these people noting that they have fallen through the cracks of Australia’s efforts to support its citizens.
Mr Theodorikakos said that he was very concerned with the plight of any Greek citizen and whilst thanking the Australia Greek community for its efforts noted that anyone who required assistance should make immediate contact with the Foreign Ministry of Greece or the Greek Consulates and the Embassy of Greece in Australia.
Also, Mr Papastergiadis discussed the issue with the Debuty Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece Mr Kostas Vlasis.
THE ARCHDIOECESE’S NORTHCOTE DISTRICT COVID19 RELIEF PROGRAM
Over the last couple of weeks the GCM has been in communication with the Archdiocese over the Community’s response to the pandemic and its impact on church operations and the broader affected community.
The GCM President spoke in person with the Greek Orthodox Primate of Australia, His Eminence Archbishop Makarios and with the Northcote District’s Archiepiscopal Reverend Evmenios.
The GCM supports the Archdiocese actions at this time including its social relief program in the Northcote District. Specifically, the GCM supports the call for donations of goods (food, clothing and hygiene products) at the following locations:
• Holy Monastery of Action ("Axion Estin") - 7 Hartington St, Northcote.
• St. Paraskevi Parish - 22 Marsden Crescent, St Albans
• Parish of visitation of the Lord - 23-29 Victoria St, Coburg
• Transfiguration Parish of the Savior - 45 Poplar St, Thomastown
Further, anyone wishing to make a financial contribution can do so via a bank transfer to the following account:
Account Name: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia,
Consolidated Trust – Northcote District.
BSB: 082 135
Account Number: 42128 9455
The GCM applauds the efforts of a number of community organisations who have come together to prepare care packages for families affected by the pandemic in our community.
Specifically, the GCM would like to highlight the efforts of Pontiaki Estia, Merimna Pontian Ladies Association, the Pancretan Federation, and the Pallaconian Brotherhood.
These organisations are calling for the donation of food, clothing, and hygiene products.
Any individual or organisation seeking to help can contact Litsa Athansiadis (0421 804 968) and or Tony Tsourdalakis (0419 856 736).
NEWLY ARRIVED GREEK ORGANISATIONS
The GCM would also like to highlight the efforts of those representing the newly arrived Greek members of our community.
Specifically Mr Theodoros Giourtis (0403 620 952) care package drive and the ongoing work being done by E.N.A. who you can contact via their facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/283369125428601/
DROP OFF AT THE GREEK
We understand that travel during these times is complicated and as such if anyone is interested in supporting any of the above drives and cannot make it to one of the nominated centres, please contact us at the GCM on 9662 2722 and we can arrange for your goods to be dropped off at the Greek Centre in the city.
NEED SOMEONE TO CHAT TO?
The GCM understand that these are indeed difficult times and as such would like to highlight is support of the the Cairnmillar Community Clinic who are offering free remote access counselling and mental health services via phone or video conference in English and Greek.
Book an appointment today with Myrto on 1800 391 393.
The GCM school program will commence as planned and announced online in the second semester. For anyone wanting more information or support please do not hesitate to contact the GCM.
In the meeting with Minister Tudge, the GCM proposed the establishment of a helpline to help service and direct members of the community and in particular Greek citizens who don’t qualify for Australian programs. The Minister supported the establishment of such a service an encouraged the GCM to take the initiative and see it through.
The GCM would like to announce that as of Thursday 16 April the GCM will offer a free HELPLINE service from its HQ with the aim of directing community members but in particular Greek citizens accordingly during this crisis.
The service will operate from 9AM to 5PM offering a conduit for all the various programs to be accordingly promoted to the people who will be most in need.
Simply call on 03 9662 2722 or via email at
ONE MORE THING
This is a stressful time and we need to look out for each other. If anyone is aware of any families or individuals that may be facing hardship please contact us. All communication will remain discrete.