Tuesday 1 October 1996

Chairperson's Report 1995/96 - David Lee

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I am very pleased to welcome you to the 1996 Annual General Meeting of the Frankston Susono Friendship Association.

This year has been a very difficult one for the Executive. Much time has been spent managing the Student Exchange Program, which unfortunately has been suspended for this year. This decision was taken after many hours of discussion between our own Executive, the Executive of SOFA and the Commissioners of the City. The Executive was placed in a position where we felt that the students, who were being hosted in Susono on the Program, were being used by some members of SOFA Executive in a power struggle for control of their Association.

Since our decision to suspend the Program, SOFA has held its Annual General Meeting and I am happy to report that those wishing to cause difficulties for the two organisations have been removed at the elections. This has enabled us to reinstate the program for 1997, which we are very pleased about. The Executive also believes that the election results will improve the relationship between the two Associations.

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 SOFA’s Executive Board and making the necessary arrangements for travel and work permits etc. These two positions have just recently been filled, and the final arrangements are now being made with Susono for the successful applicants to take up their respective appointments.

These two positions were also caught up in the power struggle, but fortunately we were able to intervene in time to save the positions from being filled by persons not chosen by either Associations.

During the year the Executive held a 'think tank' meeting with Schools and other people who it was thought could assist in developing a direction for the Association. This meeting was very successful and I am sure that the new Executive will implement many of the positive issues raised at this meeting.

The membership, both individual and corporate has remained fairly constant during the year. The Executive will be working to increase the numbers of members both individual and corporate during the coming year.

Treasurer will be expanding on the financial status of the Association a little later on.

The Friendship Garden, which has been a joint project with the Frankston High School, is almost complete. I am sure that those of you who have seen the garden in recent times would agree that it is a very beautiful garden and well worth the visit. Special thanks should go to Ken Rowe and his staff for the magnificent contribution that has been made by the School toward this project.

The All Shizuoka Band performed at the Frankston Cultural Centre in August and was a resounding success. I know that those of you who went to the concert were given an experience to remember by the performance of the band and indeed our own local schools who also participated in the evening.

An Australian Fair was held in Susono during October and from all reports was quite successful. We assisted by sending over a great deal of information about both Frankston and Australia.

Plans are well underway to again hold our Cultural Fair on October 20th. This year it is the Executive intention is to hold the Fair at the Cultural Centre. We are positive with the change of venue the Fair will be better than ever.

Our Japanese Speech contest is gaining momentum and it is hoped that as the years pass it will be an important date in the calendars of all Schools in the Region who teach Japanese as a LOTE subject. The contest will be held in August.

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. It has been a very difficult year; however, we have survived and now look forwarded to a more understanding relationship with Susono. The future looks bright and I am sure that with the hard work and dedication that has been shown by the Executive, we will continue to be a successful Sister City organisation. 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 opportunities that it offers them.

To the outgoing Executive I sincerely thank you for your support during what has been a most difficult year. I congratulate you on the cooperative manner in which the business of the Association was dealt, and for providing the extra effort that was needed to resolve the many difficulties that were presented to us this year.