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Disabilities Prevail Within Greek Australian Community

According to a survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the level of disabilities within the Greek Australian community dramatically increased between 2003 and 2009.

Just under one in five Australians born in Australia (about four million people) are facing a disability, according to reports in 2009.

The dominance of disabilities in the Greek-born community jumped from 15% to nearly 50%. The experience of disability in the Italian Australian community is similar, but the figures seem to have risen only a little by 2009.

The ABS report notes that disability depends on the birthplace and migrant group. Its findings confirm that disability rates for those born in South Eastern Europe has increased, reflecting the ageing profile of European-born migrants.

Nina Xarhakos, Project Officer with Melbourne’s Australian Greek Welfare Society, has stated that in addition to the general problems faced by the Greek community, “many of the immigrants of the ’50s and ’60s experienced working in poor factory conditions, which often lacked proper health and safety standards”.

According to the ABS survey, the population of Greek elders in Melbourne is expected to grow until at least 2016, when it is supposed to reach the peak of 30,000.

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