Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Australia and Greece make breakthrough on Social Security Agreement

The Australian and Greek Governments have agreed on a method of calculation of Australian pensions under the proposed Social Security Agreement between the two countries.

At a meeting in Sydney today, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, announced both the Australian and Greek Governments had finally agreed on the calculation.

“This has been an unresolved issue for several years. While there is still a lot of work to be done before an agreement can be finalised, I am pleased that I have been able to secure this agreement with the Greek Minister,” Senator Patterson said.

“The Greek community has played a pivotal role in the development of our nation and there are very strong bonds of friendship between our two countries.

“I know today’s announcement will be welcomed by Australia’s Greek community and by those former Australian residents who have returned to Greece.

“Under the agreed formula, former Australian residents who have returned to Greece before the Agreement starts would be paid pensions based on the period they have lived in Australia during their working life.

“Currently, without the existence of an agreement, a person who has lived in Australia and returned to Greece prior to age pension age cannot claim an Australian pension.

“This agreement between Australia and Greece will give people more freedom to move between our two nations, enhancing their retirement pension rights, which will be recognised in both countries,” Senator Patterson said.

Both Ministers have agreed that their respective officials should meet as soon as possible to begin to work on the remaining details needed to be resolved. It is expected officials will commence talks in the first half of next year.

This follows similar agreements with 17 countries including Denmark, Chile, Canada and Italy.