Let's Go Greek Festival

Monday, 11 September 2023

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell) (10:34): The Australian Greek community is one of the great migrant multicultural success stories of all of the migration waves that we have seen in Australian history. I want to pay tribute to the Hellenic Orthodox parish and the community of Parramatta. I had the great pleasure to attend the 2023 Let's Go Greek Festival. There were about 10,000 people there, and about 30,000 throughout the whole day attended from all across Sydney to celebrate Greek and Hellenic culture.

At the heart of this great family festival, the Let's Go Greek Festival, is the Greek Orthodox parish of Saint Ioannis. Father Dimitri is a great parish priest down there in Parramatta. It's a church which has built itself in the heart of what is the modern, multicultural metropolis of Parramatta.

It's a great day because you have this wonderful piece of land where a convict of Greek heritage, who was one of the original inhabitants, used to farm. There you have the Aboriginal meeting place—the Parramatta River—with plenty of eels in the river. You've got the modern metropolis, which the modern, multicultural city of Parramatta represents. Just down the road you have the governor's seat, which was the centre of the modern Australian colony for a hundred years at Parramatta. It's a great summary of modern Australia.

The Greek community there do such a great job of working for other people. The Greek Orthodox parish helps so many people through its charity and other programs. It also brings together the great cultural celebration of what Greeks have brought to Australia—that is: working so hard, building so many small businesses, building family businesses and integrating so successfully into a modern and diverse city.

I want to congratulate all of the committee involved in that: Kos Dimitriou, who's the president of the Hellenic Orthodox Community at Parramatta & Districts and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia Inter-Communities Council of New South Wales; his Grace and Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia, who I had the pleasure of working with during the pandemic; his Grace Bishop Iakovos; and Father Dimitri, a fantastic parish priest who works very hard with the community there.

It was a pleasure to speak with the Leader of the Opposition, Mark Speakman; many of the local members; and the Lord Mayor of Parramatta, Sameer Pandey, about the contribution of the community and to thank them for all their work over many, many years.

They have some needs, in relation to developing some of their land to provide support to the community, that I know the Parramatta Council will play close attention to. It would be great to get a modern Greek Orthodox church built. I know the council will look upon that favourably. It would be great to have a functioning car park. I asked the Labor-Greens council not to have an ideological opposition to car parks in a modern, major city where we have a lot of cars coming and going. It would be great to have their support for such a great community based project as well.

I say to the community: thank you for all the work you do. Thank you for the great contribution you're making to a modern Parramatta. It was great pleasure to be there.