The task of settling the assets of Greek brotherhoods and associations in Australia is an absolute necessity but it will be difficult to achieve, says Dimitris Alexopoulos, the president of the Panarcadian Federation of Victoria and of Australia.

Within Victoria, the federation represents nine different associations that are drawn from different regions of Arcadia in the Peloponnese and each Arcadian association consists of an ageing membership with assets that vary in shape and form.

“There are associations within the federation that have money in the bank with committees to look after their affairs, but only one association that has a building and an active committee with visionary prospects,” Mr Alexopoulos told Neos Kosmos.

“It is a good idea to look into (compiling an) inventory of associations’ assets and to get information from these organisations about what they want to do,” he said in reference to suggestions made by Theo Thephanous, the president of the Cyprus Community of Melbourne and Victoria.

READ MORE: ‘United effort to decide future of fading associations’ assets must start now’: Theo Thephanous

Mr Alexopoulos’ wife, Cathy, who is the president of the Greek-Australian Cultural League, said that another consideration was the rich source of archival material that the associations possessed.

“There is precious archival material that represents the history of Greeks in Australia. As these associations shut down, what will happen to their documents and where will they be housed?” asked Ms Alexopoulos.

She said larger Greek organisations, such as the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria (GCM) and the more recent Cypriot Community of Melbourne and Victoria, had a history of representing the Greek communities in Victoria and were not tied to narrower regional considerations.

Ms Alexopoulos cited as an example the arrangement reached between the GCM and a Greek association that sold its building and donated the proceeds to the GCM in exchange for a place within the new Greek Centre where it could hold regular meetings and social events.

“The second- and third-generation Greeks do not have the same passion and impetus as the first generation to organise and gather for regular functions, excursions and picnics,” said Mr Alexopoulos.

Such events helped to raise money to keep the associations going but this was no longer possible as memberships dwindled and operating costs for maintaining the buildings ate into their funds.

“The members are no longer there to organise and volunteer for all the work needed for such events and the younger generations are not interested in doing that sort of work,” said Mrs Alexopoulos. “Organisations like the GCM have paid staff to do the work.”

“The old associations did their bit. They met the needs of their times, but this is no longer attainable or possible. It is not a bad thing to give their assets over to establish something really great for the community. In ‘unity there is strength’,” she said.

Mr Alexopoulos said that a group of people of different capabilities would be needed to tackle the issue in a number of ways and that it would be a long and complex process.

READ MORE: Growing worries surface over fate of Greek associations’ assets

“Dialogue has to happen and it has to be realistic. … we need to get information from the associations and find out what they want to do, from now on” he said.

“We would propose that a committee of active members be set up with a legal representative from within the committee to oversee the process or to budget to hire a legal professional (to look into the assets of the associations and their constitutions),” he said.

“This is going to be a difficult process. There will be associations that will object and hold differing opinions. It will be a time-consuming process, so the sooner we begin it and really study the issues, the better.”