The Australian Federal government announced on Monday that it will award a grant of $5 million to the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM).
The funding commitment follows a recent visit to the Greek Centre of Contemporary Culture in Melbourne by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman.
Announcing the funding to the GCM, Coleman said that part of 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,” he stated.
Coleman said the funding would build on the already-significant contribution of the GCMV to the overall community.
“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,” 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.
William Papastergiadis, president of the GCM, stated “We welcome the announcement made by the Prime Minister Morrison and Minister Coleman for the $5 million funding to our organisation in the Federal Government Budget.”
“This is the largest grant that any Government has ever made to a Greek community organization in Australia. We are honored and proud to be the recipient of this funding,” he added.
Papastergiadis said the announcement of the funding was a recognition of the great contributions of the Greek community to the nation of Australia.
“This funding will position us to lead research in the field of the Global Diaspora, coordinate the teaching of Greek language, and engage with the wider public on the relevance of Hellenism and Global Diasporas,” he explained.
“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 recognizes the legacy of our community,” Papastergiadis added.
The PM and Minister Coleman have been very intent on funding education programs in Victoria. The GCM had therefore discussed with 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,” Papastergiadis said.
“I also explained that 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 Civilization component and focus on diaspora and multiculturalism,” he added.