The 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria (GOCMV) has been postponed again to 16 January because of growing concerns over the rise of COVID-19 cases.

The AGM which was to have been held this Sunday, will now be held the at 1pm on 16 January at the same venue – The Andrianakos Centre at Alphington Grammar in Alphington, Melbourne and will also be available onlilne.

The president of the GOCMV, Bill Papastergiadis OAM said because of rising COVID cases, he encouraged members to attend the meeting online and reduce the risks. He told Neos Kosmos that COVID safe restrictions would be in place for those travelling to the venue.

The meeting will be open to those who have been members of the GOCMV for six months or more and will ratify the minutes of the 2020 AGM.

Mr Papastergiadis, will present his report and annual financial report for the 2021 financial year and the appointment of auditors for 2022 will be announced.

The names of candidates for the election of a new board of management will be announced and the election of the electoral committee will also take place.

In a letter addressed to members ahead of the AGM, Mr Papastergiadis said the annual report showed how the COVID-19 pandemic had affected the organisation but it also reflected a slow recovery.

“Alongside significantly reduced revenues, our cultural calendar was hit again and again by repeated lockdowns and accordingly we were not able to run all our award-winning festivals,” wrote Mr Papastergiadis.  “We did however manage to successfully stage and deliver on a number of projects and activities thanks to in no small part to the diligent efforts of the Board and our dedicated staff.”

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He noted that auditors Pricewaterhouse Coopers had advised that the forecasts for the GOCMV were promising thanks to acquisitions at Alphington and Bulleen, as well as the hard work by the community team to deliver millions of dollars’ worth of grants to the organisation.

“We resolved the Alphington Bike Trail and Bulleen compulsory acquisition matters whose income injection will help stabilise the community’s finances and enhance its programs immediately,” Mr Papastergiadis wrote.

In his letter he also noted among the highlights of the past year were the community’s enhanced online education programme which had drawn students within Victoria and inter-state; the continuation and streaming of the GOCMV language and culture seminars, as well as the holding of the inaugural John Berger Memorial Lecture.

Over the past year the organisation also commemorated the Greek Bicentenary at the Evangelismos Greek Orthodox Church in East Melbourne and was able to host the Greek Music Festival on Lonsdale Street, the Flavours of Greece Festival and the Live at the Greek Program.

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“We worked successfully with the Federal and State Government on a successful community outreach program that delivered vaccinations in their neighbourhood,” Mr Papatergiadis also noted in his letter.

The organisation, he said, would launch the new Hub for Greeks in Russell Street near the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture this year. The Hub was announced prior to the pandemic and is funded in part with grants secured by the GCM from both the Federal and State governments, each contributing $2,500,000 towards the project.

He also noted that the GOCMV was lobbying the Federal Government for new tax treaty with Greece that will prevent double taxation.

“We are also initiating talks on a bilateral treaty on health care between the two countries for respective citizens that travel,” said Mr Papastergiadis.