Sunday 1 October 1995

Chairperson's Report 1994/95 - David Lee

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I am very pleased to welcome you to the 1995 Annual General Meeting of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association.

The Executive Committee has again been very active during the year ensuring that the business affairs and social activities of the Association have been conducted in a way that ensures optimum benefit for the Association.

Most of you here to-night would be aware that in December 1994, Council amalgamations took place which in the case of Frankston, saw a boundary realignment which has meant that some areas previously under the control of the former Council have been lost and other areas have been gained. Whilst the impact of the restructure has not yet been fully felt by the Association, it is clear that in the very near future we need to review our role and determine how we best meet the needs of the new City. The Commissioners of the new Frankston City Council have given the Executive Committee a commitment of continuing support into the future. This support is paramount to the ongoing future development and expansion of the Association. I would also like to take this opportunity of thanking the Commissioners for the support that has been given so far to the Association.

The membership, both individual and corporate has remained fairly constant during the year, although there has been much more interest for corporate sponsorship than there has been in the past. The financial position of the Association is good and the Treasurer will be expanding on the financial status of the Association a little later on.

During the year, we received two delegations from Susono. The Mayor of Susono, Dr Ohashi, led a delegation that visited especially for the opening of the new Cultural Centre. Mayor Ohashi presented to the City a donation of a New Norfolk pine, which was named 'The Friendship Tree.' The City also, as a gift to the City of Susono presented to Mayor Ohashi a baby New Norfolk pine to take back to Susono to be planted outside their Cultural Centre. We have since received photographs of that tree being planted by Mayor Ohashi and Mr Sugiyama, Chairperson of SOFA.

Our exchange student program has this year not been without its problems. I am confident however, that these difficulties have been resolved and the program will become better for it. The Executive Committee has formed a sub committee to review all of the processes associated with the program. We have also sought advice and input from our counterparts in Susono. I believe that many positive things will result from this review thus improving our relationship in this very important program. Currently on the program in Susono are Thomas Meadows, Christie Miall and Georgia McPhie. Terutaka Negata and Masatoshi Yoshioka are here in Frankston from Susono.

The Association has continued to be involved with SOFA's English Language Teacher position and the Susono Education Board's English Language teacher. The Association assists by providing suitable candidates for consideration by their Executive Boards and making the necessary arrangements for travel and work permits etc. These two programs provide an excellent opportunity for residents both of Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula to experience working in Japan. These two positions will again need to be filled in the New Year and advertisements seeking applications from suitable candidates will be soon published in the local newspapers.

The Friendship Garden, which is a joint project with the Frankston High School, has continued to progress. However, it is still a long way from completion but with an influx of money and hard physical work, it might nearly be completed by the end of next year.

During the year the Association has also been involved in a number of community activities including the Frankston City Pride Awards for 1994. I am sure that you would have seen in the local press that the City received the "Proud City Award" and the "Waterways/Foreshore Protection Award' for the Seaford Wetlands. Our contribution was recognised by the Council of the day with a letter under seal from the then Mayor Councillor Meehan.

An award was also presented to the Association by the Australian Sister Cities Association (ASCA) for the category of best community Involvement. This was for the Cultural Fair which was during the 1993/94 year. We are again preparing submissions for this coming year's awards.

Two very important events are currently being formalised, and there is an opportunity for members of the Association to be involved in both. The first is the All Shizuoka Band visit on August 27th through until August 29. This band consists of some 100 plus performers and in conjunction with the Frankston High School Bands will be performing at the Frankston Cultural Centre on Monday August 28. I would encourage all members to attend what will be a very entertaining and enjoyable evening. More information regarding this activities is in the July Newsletter. Also dates to remember are the 5th, 9th, and 10th of October 1995. An Australian Fair will be held in Susono, which will give members an opportunity to visit our Sister City and be involved in what promises to be a very exciting occasion. More information regarding the Fair is also in the July Newsletter.

I would like to sincerely thank all of those members, host families, schools and businesses who have assisted the Association during the year. Without their support and encouragement it would be almost impossible to carry out the charter of the Association so successfully. On reflection it has been a very rewarding year and I am sure that the new Executive Committee which you elect to night will continue to work to raise the awareness of the Association in the community and the opportunity that it presents for them.

To the outgoing Executive I thank you for your support during the year and congratulate you on the co-operative manner in which the business of the Association was dealt with.