Australian Arts Minister reaffirms support for return of Parthenon Sculptures

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The Australian Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities & the Arts  Mr Paul Fletcher  reaffirmed his country's support for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures from the British Museum to Greece during his meeting with visiting Greek Culture & Sports Minister Lina Mendoni.

During their Sydney meeting on Wednesday, both ministers discussed the illegal trading of cultural artefacts and antiquities, with Fletcher pointing out the example of Aboriginal art, traded illegally at international scale. Collaborating closer towards repatriating any such artefacts was also discussed by the two ministers.

Mendoni also visited the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

On Tuesday night, a reception in her honour was held by the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney with many community leaders and political dignitaries in attendance.

Minister Lina Mendoni also attended an Anzac Day event on Monday 25 April, one of the most important days of the Australian cultural calendar dedicated to the victims of all wars.

At the event Mendoni  spoke with New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet on the role the Greek island of Limnos played in World War I, a ministry statement said.

The program Open Air Museum on the island of Limnos  will highlight its former role as a base, supply station, hospitalisation and final resting place for Australian and New Zealand troops in WWI.

The program will be funded by the Australian government as part of a memorandum of understanding signed with the Greek National Defence Ministry.

The Culture Ministry is involved because a section of the island has been designated a protected monument of modern Greek history.

Mendoni also met with Mr Ben Franklin, NSW Minister for cultural issue  and discussed potential collaboration, including an agreement on preventing illegal movement of cultural items.

On Holy Saturday, the minister also attended the Resurrection service led by Orthodox Archbishop of Australia Makarios at the Church of Resurrection in Kogarah, Sidney, and spoke briefly with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who attended the service.

On Easter Sunday, Archbishop Makarios presented her with a decoration of the Archbishopric of Australia for her contribution to the protection and promotion of Greece’s cultural and religious heritage.

She is expected to remain on tour in Australia until April 29.