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SPEECH: Let's Go Greek Festival

Yia sas!

It’s a great pleasure to be here in Parramatta celebrating the Let’s Go Greek Festival!

This is a wonderful occasion for families to enjoy the best that Greek dancing, music, arts and food has to offer.

And it shares the great opportunity to enjoy the rich history and heritage of Greek Australians with the rest of our community.

Indeed, I know there is nothing more exciting than coming together on a Sunday afternoon to dig into some delicious souvlaki, enjoy a Greek coffee and indulge in the irresistible loukoumades!

And it is great to see so many second, third and even fourth generations here, taking pride in your culture and heritage.

One of the most significant services you can do for yourself and our state is to preserve the language and customs of your family.

I encourage you to remain engaged with the Greek traditions that trace back to ancient times, so that we can make sure these ideals are passed to forthcoming generations.

Festivals such as this not only help preserve and celebrate our cultural identity but also make enormous contributions to our state’s community harmony.

As Minister for Multiculturalism, I am incredibly pleased that the NSW Government has supported this event with a substantial grant.

By bringing people together in a family atmosphere to enjoy the wonderful food, music and performances, we get to share in each other’s traditions and learn more about each other.

I know the Greek community takes great pride in the Greek language.

That’s why there are nearly 50 Greek community language schools across our state.

And I completely understand why.

Greek is one of the most beautiful spoken languages and one of the world’s oldest written languages.

My own son, James, often comes home from school with another Greek word added to his vocabulary—thanks to all his Greek-Australian classmates.

Mind you—I don’t think I can repeat any of those words up on this stage.

But it’s the thought that counts!

The NSW Government sees our multilingualism as one of our greatest assets and supports and fosters it in a variety of ways.

For example, we have just announced a record $28 million investment over two years to improve the delivery of our language services.

This ensures that essential government and health information can reach everyone.

Over the years, Greek Australians have worked hard and have made many sacrifices to help build this great state of ours.

They illustrate the vital role Greek migrants and generations of their Greek Australians descendants have played in shaping New South Wales.

You’ve done this through your determination to succeed, to contribute and to give back.

I’m privileged to meet many different communities across our great state who also share a similar sense of hospitality and generosity.

Because what we all have in common is that they all want to give back.

People come here because they value the hope and opportunity that Australia offers us all.

Families have come here to establish better lives for themselves and their children, and for future generations.

Once again, the NSW Government is proud to support today’s Let’s Go Greek Festival.

Thank you to all my friends at the Hellenic Orthodox Parish and Community of Parramatta and Districts and the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia for bringing us a taste of Greece.

And, of course, thank you to all the volunteers who have helped to make this great event happen – you are the backbone of our society.

I hope you all enjoy the day!