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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2102..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

He was heavily involved in a number of organisations-specifically the Hellenic Club, but many other organisations as well. He was a bloke who liked to go to the Raiders with his friends as well. I saw him there on several occasions. And, of course, he played that leading role in establishing the Australian Hellenic war memorial.

In 1984 he received an Order of Australia for his great services to the community. He was a fellow who listened to everyone, who always felt that everyone had something worth saying and something worth listening to. As I said, he always liked to have a chat over a cup of coffee. He was a great Canberran, he was a great family man, a great businessman, a most valued member of our community and a great human being. The opposition sends our condolences to his wife, Sofia, and to his children-John, Maria and Suzie-and their families.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (10.50): I also rise to speak and am honoured to have the opportunity to do so. Mr Tom Efkarpidis is a pioneer businessman who made an outstanding contribution to the economic and social fabric of Canberra in the 40 years that he called this place home, as other people before me have said. I am also saddened, of course, that the reason I stand here is because of Tom's passing.

From his earliest business venture of the Curtin fish and chip shop, that Mr Stefaniak talked about, to his entry into the supermarket business, which became known as Cannon's, to the purchase of the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets and the redevelopment of the Melbourne Building into a thriving restaurant precinct, and now the redevelopment of the Acton site, Tom Efkarpidis, all the way, never did things in a small way.

With his younger brother, Tim, and their respective children, the family company, now known as the Molonglo Group, is well-respected in the ACT, as we know, for the dynamic way in which they do things.

There is no better example of this than the way Tom took on the big supermarket chains in the battle for the grocery dollar in Canberra and indeed in southern New South Wales. So successful was it that eventually they were forced to buy their group out, just to get rid of them. If you cannot beat somebody, you give them an offer they cannot refuse, and they did this.

Not only was Tom a tough and successful businessman, he was also a great benefactor, as people have said. As the Chief Minister specifically mentioned, he not only was a benefactor to the Greek community but also to many other community organisations, to education and to health.

Many Greek organisations were benefactors in Canberra. They owe much to Tom's philanthropy. Not the least is St Nicholas, the Greek Orthodox Church, where last Wednesday at least 1,000 Canberrans gathered to farewell Tom. Many of the artworks in that church were donated by Tom.

During my election campaign I spent hundreds of hours at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, thanks to the generosity of Tom and Tim. I used to see Tom regularly holding court with his friends while he drank short black coffees and puffed his beloved cigars.


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