The common ties and history between the two countries, the etablished close relations and further possibilities for cooperation, in addition to Australia’s immigration program, and its multicultural model, were among the subjects, Ms. Jenny Bloomfield, Ambassador of Australia to Greece, addressed during the briefing she gave to the Committees for Greeks Abroad, Educational Affairs and Greek – Australian Friendship of the Hellenic Parliament, on Wednesday, in the Presence of Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, Efthymios Bakas and Director General of the General Secretariat for Greeks Abroad (GSGA), Petros Panagiotopoulos.
“In these difficult moments, Australia stands by Greece’s side. We are ready to strengthen our ties at all levels”, stressed Ms. Bloomfield, noting that she considers her Greek heritage as an advantage in her mission, as she was born in Thessaloniki and migrated to Australia with her parents at a very young age.
On occasion of her briefing at the Hellenic Parliament, Ms. Bloomfield wanted to shed light on the immigration policy of her country, once again, which as she stated, is exclusively linked to the needs of the Australian market, without being influenced from a possible crisis in a country, or opting for special treatment in any case.
Over the 60 years of organized immigration after the war, Australia, as she explained, received approximately 7million immigrants and 700.000 refugees, who contributed to the formation of a successful multicultural model.
From 1970 until today, it continues to accept permanent immigrants through a specific, strictly monitored, specialized immigration program, tailored to the needs of the country’s economy. The 2011-2012 program foresees 185.000 new jobs for 183 specialty occupations.
In Australia there are approximately 500.000 Australian citizens of Greek origin, of which 110.000 are first generation Greek immigrants. 250.000 speak Greek at home. Greek language is one of the five most spoken languages in the country, and one of the 10 optional languages taught in Australian schools.
GSGA Director General, Petros Panagiotopoulos, and the Secretary General of the Ministry of Education, Efthymios Bakas, both referred to the importance and efforts for the integration of Greek – Australian teachers in the Greek curriculum, in order to significantly reduce the number of seconded teachers from Greece and consequently the cost.