The history of CASS may be characterized into the following periods :
CASS History up to 2010
( 1 ) From Preliminary Preparation to Formation
( 2 ) Commencement and development of the First Service
( 3 ) Establishment of the Campsie Child Care Centre
( 4 ) Early Stage Diversification
( 5 ) The Elderly Home Project – All Out Commitment
( 6 ) Hesitation Before the Direction of Society Became Clarified
( 7 ) Developing a diversified range of community services – Focusing At Inner West and Southern Regions of Sydney
( 8 ) Building Professionalised Management
( 9 ) Pains Of Internal Conflicts – The Dark Days And The Tumultuous Road Of Recovery
( 10 ) Strive Forward With Confidence and Maturity
From Preliminary Preparation To Formation
In mid-1970’s, the Australian Federal Government started to implement multiculturalism policies. It encouraged and assisted ethnic communities to form organisations to provide community services with the belief that through these ethnic community service organisations, the policies and information of governments could be more effectively disseminated to people of non-English speaking backgrounds. Under this climate, some ethnic communities began to form organisations aimed at providing social services. Some had set up child care centres, such as the Greek and Italian communities. At that time, there were not many Chinese migrants, and it was very difficult to find areas with high number of Chinese residents apart from the Chinatown area in Sydney. Settlement services for the Chinese community, funded by the Government, had just started, and there were no child care services for Chinese migrants.
In 1979, child care places in Australia were generally scarce. It was even harder for young migrant parents from non-English speaking background to find culturally appropriate child care services. In view of these difficulties, some enthusiastic people in the Chinese communities, as advocated by Mr. Wee Teck Teo, the Principal of the Sydney Chinese School, brewed to establish a child care centre for the Chinese community.
12 January 1980
Preparation Committee was established with an aim to set up a child care centre in Surry Hills and Chinatown areas catering the Chinese community. Mr Henry Pan was elected as the Convenor of the Preparation Committee.
June to August 1980
• Carried out telephone surveys to collect data regarding the need for child care services of the Chinese community.
• Carried out door-to-door surveys on Chinese residents in the Surry Hills area.
• Carried out surveys on female workers in clothing factories in the Surry Hills area.
Some of the above work was carried out with the assistance of Ms Nazli Munir of the Ethnic Child Care Development Unit.
August to November 1980
Analysed the collected data and prepared a submission to the Governments in order to apply for funding to establish a child care centre. Dr Vivienne Teoh was responsible for writing the submission.
The report was submitted to both the Federal and the State Government, requesting for funding to set up a child care centre.
8 March 1981
The Society was formally established and was known as the “Sydney Chinese Child Care and Community Co-operative Society Ltd”. The Formation Meeting was held at the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre, approximately 70 people attended. Mr. Henry Pan was elected as the Chairman, with Mr. Ching Tan as the Secretary. Other members of the First Board included Dr Leng Tan, Dr Cecilia Fong, Ms Patricia Wong, Dr Vivienne Teoh, Mrs. Susie Chu, Mrs. Hilda Lee and Mr. Steven Sim.
Commencement And Development Of The First Service
At the beginning, the Board of Directors of the Society was faced with a very grim situation. The directors lobbied in order to obtain support for their requests regarding the funding to establish a child care centre. However, at that time the domestic economy was in poor conditions and the Federal Government was reducing expenditure on welfare. Meanwhile, due to the short history of the Society, the Government lacked confidence in the management group’s ability to administer funding. As a result, the funding request was not optimistic, and most directors were depressed.
By July 1982, the Board of Directors decided that the founding aim of the society, i.e. to provide child care service to the community, should still be realised even without the Government’s assistance. It was resolved to provide a telephone referral service manned by volunteers to match parents in need of child care with care-givers wanting to provide child care. This simple referral service was derived from the mainstream family day care.
To promote the existence of our organisation and our initiative to the community, a function to celebrate the Chinese New Year was organised using the borrowed venue of the Chinese Youth League at 66A Dixon Street, Haymarket. This was the first social function organised by our Society that was open to the public, over 200 people attended.
The Board resolved to explore other ways to provide child care service to the Chinese community despite the unfavourable feedback about our funding application. From working with Sydney Family Day Care, in particular, Ms Maureen Hastings, it was decided to set up a telephone referral service manned by volunteers to match parents needing child care with prospective care-givers. The original plan was to run this pilot project in the City of Sydney only, however, when the news was released, requests for this service were received from all over Sydney.
Our initiative to run a telephone referral service to match parents in need of child care with prospective care-givers was known by the Office of Child Care, and gained its appreciation. Under the circumstance, the Board wrote to the Office of Child Care requesting the provision of funding to enable our Society to employ one worker to coordinate the Family Day Care project.
The self-organised “Family Day Care” had been operating for several months and had achieved good results. The Office of Child Care decided to provide funding for three years to our Society to enable the employment of a paid staff member to develop the referral service, known as the “Family Day Care Development Service” (FDCDS). At that time, the Chinese Youth League kindly provided office space for the implementation of this project.
To meet the need of the community arising from FDCDS, the first Chinese playgroup that had weekly activities was established using a borrowed venue in Ultimo.
Establishment Of The Campsie Child Care Centre
Originally, the Government’s funding to the Society for FDCDS was for a pilot project of three years’ duration. A review was scheduled to determine if the funding was to continue or modification is needed at the end of the pilot period. Following the receipt of funding and the employment of a paid staff by the Society, the project proceeded very smoothly and received extremely favourable reactions from the community to the extent that one staff was unable to cope with the demand. At the end of 1983, the Society reflected the difficulties encountered to the Government. Under very exceptional circumstances, the Government approved extra funding to enable the Society to employ two extra staff for FDCDS before the review of the project at the end of the pilot period. Mrs. Susie Chu and Mrs. Christine Cheng made contributions to the development of FDCDS during this stage.
The success of FDCDS built up the confidence of the Government on the ability of our Society to manage and administer other publicly funded projects. In June 1984, the Federal Government’s Office of Child Care contacted our Society to inquire if we were willing to establish and operate child care centres in areas outside Surry Hills. The Board of Directors deliberated the matter and resolved that location was not a key factor. It would be more important to begin the provision of services to the community as early as possible.
September to December 1984
Assisted by the Federal Government, the Society entered into negotiations with the then private owner of the Campsie Kindergarten (44 Sixth Avenue, Campsie). The Government was willing to provide a grant of $250,000 for the purchase of the child care centre. However, at that time, the owner, who also owned the adjoining property No. 48, stipulated that the Society must purchase that property as well (valued at $40,000). Otherwise he would not sell any one of the properties. The Government had expressed clearly that no funding would be provided for the purchase of properties unrelated to the child care centre.
At that time, the Society did not have any fund to purchase the property at No. 48. As the Society had no operating history with revenue generation, no banks or financial institutions were willing to provide loans. In order for the project to proceed, some directors of the Board and their partner were willing to make financial commitment using their personal properties. A request was made to the vendor to delay the settlement of the property’s sale at No. 48 for one year. This would enable the Society to have time to carry out activities to raise funds. Luckily the owner accepted this proposal, which allowed the purchasing of the property at No. 44 to proceed. Four persons who provided financial assurance using their personal assets were: Dr. Leng Tan, Dr. Tony Goh, Dr. Cecilia Fong and Mr. Henry Pan.
29 January 1985
Campsie Child Care Centre commenced operation formally, providing long day care, before and after school care and vacation care.
In order to purchase the property at No. 48, a fundraising fete was organised for the first time. It managed to raise enough fund to pay for the 10% deposit and the legal fees connected with the purchase of that property. The then Treasurer, Dr Leng Tan, made significant contributions during this period. In addition, a bank had agreed to provide a loan to the Society for the purchase of the property at No 48, but with an interest rate of 21%.
February to December 1986
At the time when the Society took charge of the Campsie Child Care Centre from the private owner, the state of condition of the Centre and its equipment were very poor. To improve the quality and service standard, the Society carried out major renovation work. On the other hand, as it was the first time that the Society managed a child care centre, the lack of in-depth understanding of operations and personnel matters led to quite a number of mistakes, some led to industrial disputes.
29 March 1987
The renovation work of Campsie Child Care Centre was completed satisfactorily. The then Federal Minister, Hon. Tom Uren officially opened the Centre on this day at a ceremony.
End of 1987
After two years of tireless efforts, the bank loan for the purchasing of the property No. 48 was finally paid off. Intermittent fundraising activities continued until 1990 in order to raise fund for the construction of an activity centre at the premises.
Early Stage Diversification
As the operation of Campsie Child Care Centre gradually stabilised, the Society began to pay attention to matters outside its usual scope. Owing to the change in Australian immigration policy, the opening up of Mainland China and the impending return of Hong Kong to China, the number of Chinese-speaking migrants increased significantly in Sydney, which led to corresponding increase in demand to various social services. The Society was frequently getting enquiries and requests from families using our services then to expand the scope of services. However, as at that time our Society was basically run by volunteers with no paid staff members and only a limited increase in the scope of our services was possible. It included the participation to promote aged services, increasing child care services, providing some assistance in settlement matters and organising cultural activities. Meanwhile, the increase of Asian migrants led to the emergence of an anti-Asian undercurrent in the mainstream. Our Society resolutely took an active role in rallying communities to counter this noxious wind.
17 May 1987
In conjunction with two other community organisations (Chinese Youth League and Sydney Chinese School), the Elderly Australian Chinese Homes Co-operative Ltd (EACH) was formed to cater for the welfare of Chinese elderly people. The first task was to establish an aged hostel in Croydon. When this task first began, the Chinese Youth League played the leading role and the Society gave assistance by utilising its experience in dealing with government departments.
15 August 1987
The Board of Directors of the Society passed the first five-year corporate development plan.
Ron Casey, broadcaster of Radio 2KY, expressed his opinions on air in his program which insulted Asian people. The Society resolutely started a campaign to encourage people in the Chinese community to lodge complaints to the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal. This was the first time that the Chinese Australian community collectively took action to defend its rights. The Tribunal received a total of about 1,200 complaint letters. As there were widespread complaints, the Tribunal set up an inquiry to examine the case, which led subsequently to the suspension of Ron Casey from broadcasting for three months.
Due to the achievement in managing the Campsie Child Care Centre, the Federal Government entrusted the Society to establish and manage Darling Harbour Child Care Centre.
As the Society had a good reputation amongst the government departments, the application lodged by EACH requesting funding for the aged hostel project was approved within a short period.
The Society, Chinese Youth League and the Sydney Chinese School jointly organised a charity walk titled “Eighty Thousand March”, to raise fund for the aged hostel. A total of $6,500 was raised.
Some Society members and directors participated in the performance, “Dragon Down Under”, organised by the Chinese Youth League, to raise fund for the elderly home project.
Held seminars to discuss the Immigration Policy Review Report prepared by Dr. Steven Fitzgerald, released by the Federal Government. CASS lodged a submission to the Government to present the views collected.
Not long after the Government approved funding for EACH to establish an aged hostel, differing opinions emerged amongst the directors of its Board in relation to the approach to be taken regarding the project. In order to minimise conflict, since mid-1988, the Society had effectively ceased its participation in the work. In early 1989, the relevant Government department pressed EACH to commence work on the project. At that time, several key directors of the Board of EACH considered a number of options to resolve the stalled project development. The only option considered to be viable and practical was to have the Society undertaking the development of the aged hostel. In order to preserve the funding by the Government to the Chinese community and benefit Chinese-speaking elderly people, the Board of the Society reluctantly agreed to undertake the project.
19 March 1989
In view of the gradual diversification in the Society’s business, the Annual General Meeting of the Society passed a motion to change the name to “Chinese Australian Services Society Co-operative Ltd”, with “CASS” as its brand name.
2 June 1989
Cabled the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Sydney and also released a press statement to urge the Chinese Government to avoid using the military to curb the protest by the people, and listen to their request and seek a resolution through peaceful negotiation.
6 June 1989
Cabled the Prime Minister, Hon. Bob Hawke, supporting his decision to allow the Chinese students to stay in Australia.
21 July 1989
Along with other Chinese organisations went to meet the then Minister for Immigration, Hon. Robert Ray, to discuss the issue regarding resident status for Chinese students. The Society made a written submission to the Minister to urge the Government to allow PRC students to stay in Australia.
7 October 1989
Started a drama class for children. This was the beginning leading to the formation of the CASS Academy of Arts.
Darling Harbour Child Care Centre formally commenced operation to provide services.
Construction of the Campsie Activity Centre at No. 48 Sixth Avenue, Campsie was completed. Part of the capital for this construction was raised from fundraising activities and the remaining capital was from a bank loan.
Responding to the need of parents, CASS Chinese School was established.
In view of the strong need of FDCDS caregivers, the Society entered into an agreement with St John Ambulance to run first aid training courses in Chinese.
The Elderly Home Project – All Out Commitment
When our Society undertook the Croydon elderly home project in 1989, our leaders were well aware of the immensity of the difficulties lying ahead. Even though there was funding provided by the Government to support this project, a sum of $140,000 was needed urgently to enable the completion of the purchase of the two properties involved. Subsequent to that, there was an urgency to commence the provision of aged hostel service from the useable part of the building purchased. Then, it would be necessary to gather funds to renovate the remaining parts of the building to improve its condition to a level suitable for use as an elderly hostel. All these would require unceasing efforts to fundraise continuously for a considerable period of time. As our Society had only limited resources, to complete the elderly home project would require the all-out commitment of our Society, and thus the development plan of our Society adopted in 1987 had to be modified to accommodate the situation. Three members of our Board joined the Board of EACH, together with several enthusiastic members. All of our volunteers were directed to contribute their efforts on fundraising events for the elderly home.
In order to realise the establishment of the aged hostel at Croydon, our Society reached out to the wider community to seek support and assistance. During this process, it was discovered that there were considerable community misconceptions about the work, viewpoints and direction of both our Society and EACH. This was caused by certain people in the community who deliberately spread rumours, connecting our Society and EACH to certain aspect of motherland politics. Realising this situation, our Society reviewed the purposes of its existence and the scope of its services, recognising that our Society was an organisation registered in Australia with a primary aim to provide services within Australia. Its position on any matter should be based on the national policy of the Government of Australia. On the other hand, as our Society aimed to provide services to various communities, its target groups of clients should be irrespective of backgrounds, religions or viewpoints. Our Society should have friendly relationships with all communities. Under this clear understanding, our Society started to project a clear image in the community.
Our Society, the Chinese Youth League and the Sydney Chinese School entered into an agreement to provide interest-free loans of a total sum of $140,000 to EACH to allow the completion of purchase of the Croydon properties. CASS provided an interest-free loan of $50,000, which was not paid back until the end of 1993.
5 February 1990
The Croydon Elderly Hostel commenced to provide services.
Fundraising activities organised in 1990 for the Croydon Elderly Hostel included:
April: Planned a large-scale cultural performance, which raised $26,000.
August: Organised a charity dinner, which raised $22,000.
Fundraising activities organised in 1991 for the Croydon Elderly Hostel included:
March: Assisted the staging of a charity Cantonese opera performance titled “Lion Roaring”, which raised about $10,000.
October: Staged a children’s drama performance titled “Malanhua”, which raised about $16,000.
6 September 1992
Organised a large scale “Dragon Charity Walk” fundraising activity and raised $52,000 for the Elderly Hostel project. This activity was kindly assisted by Wayin Network and Hong Kong Students’ Associations of various universities and colleges in Sydney. It was also sponsored by Po Hong Group of Companies.
Having the experiences of those fundraising activities organised for the Elderly Hostel project, the Society considered that it would continue to carry out activities to raise fund for the Croydon Elderly Hostel project and other public benevolent institutions. To facilitate this work, the Society resolved to establish the “CASS Charity Trust Fund”. The Trust Fund received approval from the Australian Taxation Office. Donations of $2 and over can receive tax deduction concession.
12 September 1993
Organised another large scale “Dragon Charity Walk” fundraising activity and raised $27,000 for the Croydon Elderly Hostel Project, and $3,000 for the Westmead Children’s Hospital. The Po Hong Group of Companies sponsored generously again.
Hesitation Before The Direction Of Society Became Clarified
As the Society was entirely committed to the completion of the Croydon Elderly Hostel project, its own development had effectively stopped between 1989 and 1993. The ambiguity of the Society’s direction led to divergence of views within the Society’s rank. In 1991, several personnel issues emerged during the staging of “Malanhua” performance to raise fund for the elderly hostel project. By mid-1993, the Cultural Group’s children drama class went into decline because of disturbances arising repeatedly.
Meanwhile, some of the leaders of our Society realised that the Croydon Elderly Hostel project would be completed satisfactorily by the end of 1993. It would be necessary to plan for future developments of our Society, especially with the number of Chinese-speaking migrants soaring rapidly, there was increasing demand of community services. Our Society should promptly seize the opportunity and develop services to meet the community needs accordingly. The critical issue in the whole consideration was that our Society had only limited resources, and it would not be able to take care of the development of both our Society and EACH separately at the same time, unless there was a properly aligned and unified approach. In late 1993, when our Society started to explore this issue internally, conflicts began to surface. Separation of our Society and EACH, going different ways, became unavoidable. However, no matter how EACH might become in the future, the significant contributions made by our Society, building a solid financial foundation for EACH through vigorous fundraising efforts during the period of establishing the elderly hostel, cannot be concealed or denied by anyone.
Although the Society went through several regrettable episodes in 1993, its dedicated backbone personnel, including Mr. Henry Pan, Mr. Kim Lee, Dr. Donald Cheah, Mr. Warris Suen and Mr. Peng Bai were working diligently as usual, standing firm and cultivating silently.
The Society’s Hua-An Elderly Group started their activities at the Campsie Activity Centre on Wednesdays.
The Board of Directors resolved to gradually establish a management framework staffed with paid professional personnel to be responsible for the day-to-day operations. On the basis of the limited resources, a part-time manager’s position to oversee the daily affairs of the Society. The then Co-ordinator of FDCDS, Mrs. Bee Koh was appointed to this position.
Having overcome the depressed state of children’s drama class and other personnel problems, key volunteers and leaders of the Society formally established the CASS Academy of Arts. Apart from the existing drama class, other classes including folk dance, ballet, and electronic keyboard etc. were added. From then on, at the end of each year, a performance was organised to present to parents their children’s achievements. The running of those classes gradually became systematic and formalised.
Middle to late 1993
Due to strong demand from the community. Voluntary workers increased the provision of various settlement services and training classes, including adult migrant English classes.
Developing A Diversified Range Of Community Services – Focusing At Inner West And Southern Regions Of Sydney
Confronted with internal instability within the Society, the Chairperson then, Mr. Henry Pan, and a number of the main staff members held a meeting in November 1993, analysing and discussing the Society’s challenges, the community’s demand and expectation plus the trend of changing government policies. The meeting resulted in an outline of the future direction of development for the Society – to explore ways to diversify the provision of community services in the Inner West and Southern regions of Sydney.
The outcomes of the meeting decisively guided the subsequent development of the Society.
Secured a bank loan to purchase the property at 46 Sixth Avenue, Campsie and carried out modification work to make it a child care centre.
Modification work completed and Campsie Child Care Centre (No. 2) began to provide service.
March to June 1994
Chinese citizens allowed to stay in Australia because of the situation in China began to apply for permanent residency under a piece of legislation promulgated by the Federal Government on November 1, 1993. During this period, our Society assisted more than a thousand applicants, providing services ranging from forms filling, certification of documents by JP and translation.
The endeavour to expand the Society’s service had a breakthrough – funding from the Federal Department of Immigration was obtained to employ a full-time staff to provide settlement services in both Campsie and Ashfield areas.
An “Open Day” activity was organised to promote the Society’s diversified services in the Inner West and Southern regions of Sydney. This activity had attracted a record attendance of about 3,000 people. The then Federal Minister, Hon. Nick Bolkus attended to officially open the Society’s Campsie Activity Centre and Campsie Child Care Centre (No. 2).
Began to organise English classes and job training classes in conjunction with TAFE, Adult Migrants English College and UNSW Department of Languages.
Due to the expansion of the business of CASS, the office space at the original Campsie premises were no longer adequate. The Society decided to raise fund and borrow from the bank to purchase the property at 21 Seventh Avenue, Campsie.
Established a network of Chinese playgroups in the Metropolitan Sydney. There were five groups at the beginning in five different areas, including Campsie, Ashfield, Hornsby, Chatswood and Cherrybrook.
27 June 1995
CASS facilitated a meeting between seven enthusiastic Chinese businessmen operating in Ashfield with six senior officers of the Ashfield Council. The background for this meeting was that the increasing number of Chinese residents in Ashfield have led to more Chinese shops trading in the area. Due to a lack of communication between the mainstream groups and the Chinese shop-owners, a motion was moved at the local council’s meeting asking for a restriction on using foreign languages in the signs at the shop front. With the active fostering by CASS, both the Council and the Chinese shop-owners expressed the willingness to expand contact and cooperation.
25 July 1995
Through the assistance of CASS, the General Manager of the Ashfield Council invited the Chinese shop-owners to have a meeting with local councillors. Almost all the councillors attended this historical meeting. Continuous contacts helped to improve the relationship between the local government and the Chinese business community in Ashfield, and to resolve the issue of shop sign.
1 to 3 September 1995
Organised a large-scale “Inner West Cultural Exchange” event in Ashfield. Promoting mutual understanding between communities and fostering understanding of Chinese culture by other ethnic communities. The theme of this event was “Legend of the Moon”. The multi-cultural performance at the Opening Ceremony of the event received partial funding from the Australia Council for the Arts.
Due to the success in organising the “Inner West Cultural Exchange”, CASS won the prestigious 1995 “Multicultural Marketing Award” (community section) of the NSW Ethnic Affairs Commission.
October to December 1995
In conjunction with mainstream training institutions, started to jointly organise small business management training courses, assisting Chinese unemployed individuals to embark on small businesses venture.
Leased the first floor of 301 Liverpool Road, Ashfield to establish an activity centre.
Began to organise regular bridge playing sessions in conjunction with Sydney Bridge Club.
Received a three-year funding from NSW Government’s Casino Community Benefit Fund (CCBF), enabling the employment of a professional counsellor to provide general and gambling counselling to problem gamblers, their related family members and the general public in the Chinese community.
Secured a bank loan to purchase a property at 48 Queens Road, Hurstville to set up the CASS Hurstville Child Care Centre.
Between 1996 and 1998
Organised several large-scale citizenship ceremonies, facilitated about 3,000 people to become Australian citizens. At one of the largest ceremonies, 550 people became Australian citizens. After 1998, CASS organised two citizenship ceremonies annually with about 120 people becoming citizens at each ceremony.
November 1996 to January 1997
The Board of Directors resolved to change the Society’s auditors leading to a rare special general meeting held on January 9, 1997.
26 January 1997
The achievements of CASS in providing community services over the years received the recognition from the Governments and communities with the Chairperson, Mr Henry Pan, awarded an Order of Australia Medal honour by the Government.
In view of the significant increase in the number of Chinese migrants in Hurstville and a lack of activities for the seniors, CASS resolved to commence regular day activities for them through the establishment of “Huakang Seniors Group”. In the beginning, the activities were held at Healthpac Medical Centre, kindly made available by Dr. Ven Tan.
1 July 1997
The Federal Government made major changes to the operating legislation on children and community services, especially terminating funding to community based child care centres and limiting the hours parents could use these services. These policy changes led to significant decrease in child care placements throughout Australia. The Society’s centres were of no exception. Not long after the implementation of the new policies, the occupancy rate of the Society’s child care centres fell significantly compared with previous years and there were no longer waiting lists. The Board took a series of measures and the staff made collective efforts. With our foresight diversifying services, the year was ended with a financial loss of only 0.4% of the total expenditure.
Received a two-year grant from CCBF to employ a staff to organise seminars and workshops in order to raise Chinese community’s awareness on personal development and mental health.
In order to cooperate and work more closely with the Inner West Migrant Resource Centre (IWMRC), and to optimise the use of Society’s limited resources, the Activity Centre previously set up at the First Floor, 301 Liverpool Road, Ashfield was relocated to IWMRC.
26 January 1999
The NSW Australia Day Council of the State Government appointed the Society’s Chairperson, Mr. Henry Pan, as an Australia Day Ambassador for the first time. Mr Pan was appointed for four consecutive years.
Received funding from CCBF to expand the Society’s existing counselling service to include weekend telephone counselling service. As such, CASS was able to provide comprehensive professional services in areas of mental health and counselling.
20 August 1999
The Society established an internet website at www.cass.org.au. This was the first time a Chinese community organisation using information technology to provide and promote community services on the internet. The website was officially launched by Hon. Philip Ruddock, Federal Minister of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. The website provided more than a hundred pages of information in both Chinese and English. There were about 60,000 hits to the website in the period between the launch to the end of the year.
30 October 1999
The Society actively fostered cultural exchange with the staging of a dance performance entitled “The Other Side of the Ocean” at the Seymore Theatre of the University of Sydney. The dance performance was created and performed by members and friends of the Society and partial funding was received from the Australia Council for the Arts. Approximately 1,100 people watched the performance.
In view of the increasing number of Chinese migrants in Hurstville, the Society resolved to use its own fund to employ a part-time staff to provide migrant settlement services every Tuesday morning. The office was located at the Healthpac Medical Centre.
25 November 1999
Central Sydney Area Health Service (CSAHS) used the Society’s Campsie Activity Centre to launch the Chinese Health Guidebook. As the Society’s website provides multicultural information and is one of the most advanced sites in the Chinese community, CSAHS especially requested the Society to publish the contents of the book on the Society’s website, to allow public to read with ease.
Received approval from the Federal Government to provide Community Aged Care Packages to care for the aged at their homes. This service had a total of thirty places, covering wide geographical areas including the whole of Inner West region of Sydney (Ashfield, Burwood, Strathfield, Concord, Leichhardt and Drummoyne), Canterbury, Marrickville, St George region (Rockdale, Kogarah and Hurstville), and Sutherland. With the development of this service, the Society realised the aim of providing a “one-stop shop” community service to the communities.
To support the “Principles of Multiculturalism and Community Relation Commission Bill 2000”, CASS and several other key Chinese community organisations formed a committee, striving actively to lobby the passage of the proposed Bill by the NSW Parliament. The Bill was eventually passed on 11 October 2000 by the NSW Legislative Council.
The Society’s Chairperson, Mr. Henry Pan, was appointed by the NSW Government to the NSW Ethnic Affairs Commission as a part-time Commissioner for a period of three years. Subsequently, the term was extended to June 2006.
The efforts of expanding community services in the southern region had another breakthrough with the Society receiving funding from DIMA to employ a part-time worker to provide migrant settlement services in Hurstville and Wollongong areas. With this development, Hurstville City Council kindly provided office space, and the Wollongong City Council organised a news conference.
Building Up A Professional Management Team And Structure
During its first 20 years, CASS had gone through a bumpy road with many difficulties. Many enthusiasts had volunteered to participate in its development, making enormous contributions, giving selfless and wholehearted efforts and support. However, like the evolution of the wider society, management and operation of an organisation, including a community organisation, cannot simply rely on volunteers and operate in traditional manners, especially in view of the economic pressure placed on individuals in the modern society.
As the social structure of the general society is changing, contributions made by enthusiastic volunteers are decreasing. Though the efforts of volunteers will always be a key backbone of CASS, the daily administration and management can no longer rely on volunteers but must be undertaken by a team of employed professionals. To achieve this, as a bottom line, CASS must have economic strength, professional spirits, and a concise and efficient structure. The Society must apply modern management philosophy and principles, appropriate science and technology to aid its operation.
Meanwhile, the mainstream organisations are developing services to cover particular ethnic communities. The Chinese community has been targeted. Under the same context, as CASS is a registered organisation in Australia, it can surely legitimately expand its scope of services and activities laterally likewise to cover the mainstream and other communities. All along, the child care centres operated by CASS are open to anyone in the public. This kind of operation mode will increase the economic viability of CASS in the long run.
From 2000 onwards, a lot of efforts have been placed in the building of a professionalised management team and structure for CASS. The corporate planning process held in 2001 clearly sets the priority and direction of the Society in this regard. A wholly owned subsidiary, CASS Care Ltd was also formed to take on the role of providing services to communities beyond the Chinese community.
4 March 2001
Celebrated 20th Anniversary with the holding of an Official Ceremony at the CASS Activity Centre, about 200 invited guests attended, including the Premier, Hon. Bob Carr, Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Sydney, his Excellency Mr. Liao Zhihong. Senator Bin Chen representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Hon. Philip Ruddock, and many other Federal and State MPs, Mayors and Councillors of local governments and leaders of key community organisations.
An Open Day event was also organized at the Campsie Head Office site, which attracted about 3,000 people.
22 July 2001
Held an important Corporate Planning Day to formulate strategies, plans and direction for CASS to guide its development and management for the next 3-4 years. It was concluded at this meeting that it would be necessary to enhance the professionalised management team and structure of CASS.
26 July 2001
Launched a relaxation skills CD and the publication of a book collecting those counselling articles from the CASS Column.
3 & 8 August 2001
Jointly organized a radiothon with SBS Radio to raise funds for the Westmead Children’s Hospital. CASS volunteers helped receiving calls during a live broadcast. A total of $18,000 was raised.
A gambler’s support group was formed and continued to meet once or twice per month until early 2005.
Purchased the residential property at 69 Fifth Avenue, Campsie with a bank loan for future development purpose.
An additional 13 CACP packages were granted to extend our Service to Chinese-speaking people residing in the Inner West and South East Sydney regions. Also granted 10 packages to establish a CACP Service for the Korean-speaking people residing in the same two regions, marking the commencement of CASS in providing services to the Korean community.
8 March 2002
Formation of the wholly owned subsidiary, CASS Care Ltd, on the day when CASS celebrated its 21st Anniversary. It was registered as a company limited by guarantee. From then on, services targeting the wider communities are provided through CASS Care as “CASS” is the brand name which does not imply any ethnic identity.
June to July 2002
Acquired a child care centre in Peakhurst at the end of June 2002 with a bank loan, and was named as CASS Peakhurst Child Care Centre. It commenced operation on 1 July 2002.
22 July 2002
In a special ceremony, DIMIA appointed CASS, Anglicare and Auburn Migrant Resource Centre to jointly provide settlement services to newly arrived migrants and refugees residing in the Inner West due to the closure of the Inner West Migrant Resource Centre. The appointment of CASS as a general settlement services provider by the Government signified that CASS has been regarded as a mainstream services provider. This is a pivotal breakthrough in the work of CASS.
Under the new arrangement, DIMIA provided a one-year funding for the employment of a Generalist Worker as well as a CSSS Worker to provide settlement services for people residing in the Inner West Region and Marrickville LGA, with emphasis to migrants from Thai, Indonesian, Korean and Chinese communities.
28 August 2002
In view of the increasing service scope in the Inner West, the CASS Ashfield Office was established on the first floor of 226-230 Liverpool Road, Ashfield. It was officially opened on 28 August 2002 by the Mayor of Ashfield, Cr. Mark Bonanno. In addition, the provision of sessional settlement service commenced at the May Murray Neighbourhood Centre in Marrickville and the Canterbury-Bankstown Migrant Resource Centre in Campsie.
Our Hurstville Environment Care Team was awarded the Hurstville City Council’s Green City 2002 Environmental Award for their work in protecting the local environment.
Made a submission to present our views regarding the “Review of Settlement Services for Migrants and Humanitarian Entrants”, conducted by DIMIA. The outcomes of this Review have far-reaching impacts on the settlement services subsequently.
Two properties adjoining the Campsie Head Office site were purchased with bank loans. The one at 71 Fifth Avenue, is a residence which will be used for future development. The other one at 50 Sixth Avenue was to be renovated and used for administration and training purposes.
25 January 2003
As part of the work funded by the NSW Environment Trust to promote awareness in the Chinese community on environment protection, an Education Kit was launched by Ms Cherie Burton MP representing the Hon. Bob Debus, Minister for the Environment NSW. Over 2,300 free kits were distributed in the Chinese community.
Auspiced the operation of the Pandaroo Playgroup which commenced its activities at our CASS Activity Centre in Campsie. It is specially organised to assist Australian parents in furthering their knowledge of the Chinese culture and customs while parenting their adopted child from China.
CASS Aged Day Care (ADC), a centre-based respite care service funded by the NSW Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (DADHC) under the Home and Community Care (HACC) Program, commenced operation using our CASS Activity Centre in Campsie on every Monday. This service provides respite care for Chinese-speaking frail seniors residing in the Inner West region.
April & August 2003
After consultation with DIMIA, the provision of sessional settlement services in Bankstown and Burwood commenced.
With the support of the Burwood Council, two information expos were organised to promote the settlement services of CASS in Burwood and other local welfare and health services. The first event directed at the Korean community was held in April and attracted over 260 people. The second event, held in August and aimed at the Chinese-speaking community, attracted more than 350 people.
Entrusted by the funding body DADHC to manage the Chinese Group Home (CGH) in Marrickville. It provides supported accommodation services to a group of five people with mild intellectual disabilities.
The renovation of 50 Sixth Avenue, Campsie was completed and used for administration and training purposes.
July to September 2003
Organised the first “Cooking Competition”. The final was held as part of the charity dinner “Beautiful Food in Sydney”. Over 600 people attended and nearly $30,000 was raised for our CGH to renovate and upgrade its existing facilities. Guests included MPs, Mayors and councillors of Local Government, departmental officers, sponsors and many leaders of community organizations. Ettason Pty Ltd was the major sponsor for this event.
DIMIA modified the target groups of our grants to cover Chinese-speaking new migrants only. The Board resolved to discontinue the services to Thai but self-fund the Korean and Indonesian sessional settlement services and activities provided at the CASS Ashfield Centre.
CASS Chinese School and CASS Academy of Arts jointly celebrated their 10th anniversary with two events. On 23 November 2003, CASS Academy of Arts staged a special ballet concert titled “The Nutcracker” at Kogarah High School. The event attracted an attendance of over 300 people.
On 30 November 2003, a celebration function was held at Kogarah High School with more than 400 people in attendance.
Students of our CASS Academy of Arts achieved excellent results in external examinations. All ballet students passed the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) examination with approximately 81% receiving distinction. One of the students in the Advanced Foundation class was admitted to the RAD Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies. The students of the keyboard classes attained a 100% pass rate in the examinations of the Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB), with over 30% attaining distinction.
Our CASS website underwent its first upgrade and enhancement, including the design and structure. Apart from Chinese and English, relevant service information was also provided in Indonesian and Korean languages. The website continued to attract a high hit rate of over 50,000 per month.
Purchased the residential property at 73 Fifth Avenue, Campsie with a loan for future development purposes.
At the end of 2002, CASS conducted a fundraising campaign in the community to raise fund for bush fire victims as well as drought sufferers in regional NSW. By the end of 2003, $10,000 was raised with $3,000 donated to the Red Cross and $7,000 donated to the Rural Fire Brigade.
Established a new Burwood Chinese Activity Group jointly with the Smith Family, and an official inauguration was launched by Clr David Weiley, Mayor of Burwood Council.
Celebrated the 10th Anniversary of our Settlement and Migrant Services receiving funding from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) to provide settlement services targeting the Chinese-speaking migrants. The number of grants from DIMIA had increased from one in 1994 to four then, and CASS also self-funded services for Korean and Indonesian migrants.
Awarded funding under the National Community Crime Prevention Program of the Federal Attorney-General’s Department to our “Chinese Community Crime Prevention Initiative”. The work included supporting groups and providing counselling services to victims of crime, writing articles to the Chinese media and organising information sessions on crime prevention.
With funding from the Wollongong City Council, an updated Community Services Directory for Chinese-speaking migrants residing in and around Wollongong was compiled and launched.
4 June 2005
Participated in the Campsie Food Festival for the first time, organised by the Canterbury City Council. Volunteers of our Seniors Groups, Activity Groups, Women’s Groups, Korean Group and Indonesian Group ran four food stalls and one information stall.
1 July 2005
Commenced to operation of the Dementia Day Care (DDC), a centre-based respite care community providing activities for older people with dementia. The service received funding under the National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP) from the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA).
Received a 2-year funding from the NSW Department of Health under the NSW Carers Program to provide information, referral, support and training for the Cantonese, Mandarin and Korean-speaking family carers of the frail aged or people with disabilities residing in the Sydney Inner West region.
Entrusted by DADHC to manage another group home, the Dominic House (DH), located in Campsie.
The funding to provide counselling service for problem gamblers and their families from the Casino Community Benefit Fund (CCBF) was terminated. The Board resolved to continue the services through self-funding and support from community donations.
In partnership with the St George Division of GP, conducted the Healthy Ageing Forum on 22 September at the Marana Auditorium in Hurstville, with financial support given by the Hurstville City Council. Over 400 people attended the event.
The Australian Chinese Charity Foundation kindly raised $24,000 for our counselling service at their Annual Charity Dinner.
13 October 2005
Launched the project which received funding from the Cancer Institute NSW and worked in partnership with the Chinese Australian Tobacco & Health Network, running the Parents Quit Smoking Campaign, targeting the Chinese speaking population in Sydney Metropolitan area. The launch was held at the CASS Activity Centre, and was conducted by Dr. Stephen Li, Chairperson of the Australian Chinese Medical Association.
Launched the Crime Prevention Booklet at CASS Activity Centre and was conducted by the Hon. Philip Ruddock, Attorney General, together with Senator Connie Fierravanti-Wells, representing Senator Chris Ellison, the Minister for Justice and Customs. 10,000 copies of the booklet were distributed to the Chinese communities in the whole of Australia.
Made a submission to present our views to the “Review of the Management of Charity”, conducted by the Department of Finance.
With funding received from the NSW Community Relations Commission (CRC), established an Activity Group in Wollongong.
Received the Einfield Award Metropolitan (Highly Commended) of the 2005 Fair Trading Awards in recognition of our valuable contribution to raising awareness of consumer rights in the community.
Pains Of Internal Conflicts – The Dark Days And The Tumultuous Road Of Recovery
While the Society was making good and steady progress in all fronts, an unexpected tragic incident suddenly occurred. On 8 January 2006, our long serving and dedicated Chairperson, Mr Henry Pan, was viciously assaulted when he was assisting the Police in his CASS role to resolve a custody case. Sadly, Pan was totally blinded.
No statements were issued by the CASS Board then to inform the public about the assault incident and to condemn the violent and barbaric crime. Instead, many things inconsistent with the fundamental values and objectives espoused by CASS occurred.
The situation became evident gradually – a small group of people with ill agenda breached the rules and ignored the proper governance of CASS seizing the opportunity wanting to hold on to power. They manipulated the “Active Membership” clause of the CASS Rules to strip off the rights of a large number of longstanding members to attend and vote at the Annual General Meetings in September and November 2006 respectively. The atmosphere in CASS had degenerated into one filled with mistrust, fear and confrontation.
The operation of CASS was seriously affected with the cessation of a number of services and activities and little progress in most work. Financially, CASS encountered unprecedented huge operating loss and cashflow problems. There was an attempt to sell off assets of our Society secretly and scarce resources were wasted in things inconsistent with the objectives of our Society, including spending a large sum of money to print denigrating materials against Pan.
At this critical time, a group of zealous and dedicated members who believed in the ideal and values of our Society stood up and fought to safeguard our Society. They formed an Action Group, and together with the strong support of many individuals in the community, mounted challenges against those people in control of CASS then. They included: Bo Zhou, Peng Bai, Shan Zou, William Luong, Yunfang Lu, Yek Kwong Chiang, Wanming Liang, Tao Bai, Peter Pan, Xuan Ding, Ying Seow Chan, and many more. The disabled Pan was not deterred by his physical limitations and worked hand-in-hand with the caring members. They displayed enormous courage and respectable determination to overcome successive hurdles with the objective to resolve the situation.
With the assistance of others in the community, especially Dr. Tony Goh and Councillor Clifton Wong, in the 26th AGM held on 9 December 2007, our members decisively elected the team to manage CASS and stood on the platform with the slogan “Support Henry Pan and Rebuild CASS”.
There was general hope that the newly elected team would focus on the rebuilding of CASS. However, instability and disharmony in the Board was apparent until the 27th AGM, held on 31 August 2008. Dr. Leng Tan was then elected as our Chairperson, and under her leadership, our Society was truly set on the much-anticipated rebuilding path. By the end of 2008, the operations of CASS as a whole had shown significant progress and financially, CASS was back on positive territory. An important Corporate Planning Day was organized in April 2009 to carry out strategic planning of CASS for the coming years.
Certain disturbances continued to occur for a period of time after 2008, in which there were people holding press conferences and approaching government departments to spread false and unfounded allegations about CASS operations and corporate governance with the evil intention to destroy CASS. Their irresponsible acts caused damage to the image of CASS and the community. Several government departments conducted investigations then, and much time and efforts were spent by our team to handle the inquiries, in which some dragged on from September 2008 until now (start of 2011). However, CASS was cleared of all allegations, and the positive outcomes strengthened the confidence of government departments on the integrity and ability of CASS, and also increase the resolve of our team to focus on work to achieve the aims of CASS.
8 January 2006
Our Chairperson then, Henry Pan, was viciously assaulted when he was assisting the Police in his capacity as the Chairperson of CASS to resolve a custody issue between a separated couple. Pan was permanently blinded.
14 January 2006
The Board resolved to appoint Brian Wong to act in the Chairperson position while Pan was on sick leave. Members and staff were told by the CEO and some of the Board members that Pan did not want visitors. Malicious rumours about the assault, traceable to be originated from CASS, started to circulate in the community.
27-29 January 2006
Organised the Chinese New Year Chinatown Market event for the first time under a contract awarded by the City of Sydney which was applied by CASS under Pan. There were 60 stalls and over 200,000 visitors, including the Hon. Morris Iemma MP, Premier of NSW.
11 February 2006
A press conference was called to announce the news that CASS had secured from the Federal Government an additional 13 Chinese and 11 Korean CACP packages to cover the Northern Region of Sydney. However, on this occasion, the media personnel were told that Pan did not want people to visit him. Pan did not even know the holding of the Press Conference and had never indicated that he did not want visitors.
25 February 2006
The Board held a meeting without the knowledge of Pan, and with limited information in hand, hastily passed a motion to say that at the time of Pan’s assault, he was not doing casework on behalf of CASS.
The company underwriting the insurance of CASS was then specifically informed of the Board’s resolution, thus creating major obstacle for Pan to make a claim for his injuries caused by the assault under the volunteers’ accident insurance cover.
Received funding from the NSW Office of Fair Trading to run a Tenancy Rights Project in 2006/2007.
20 May 2006
A dinner was held to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of CASS. About 600 people attended the event, including the Hon Milton Orkopoulos, Minister assisting the NSW Premier on Citizenship, representing the Premier; the Hon Peter Debnam, Leader of the NSW Opposition, Consul General Qiu Shaofang of the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Sydney, Mr David Macleod, representing the Hon Andrew Robb MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Federal and State MPs, Mayors, Councillors, departmental officers, community leaders and other dignitaries.
Pan, declined to attend the function, and he released a public statement expressing his profound sadness and disappointment at the lack of care and sincerity to him and the treatment encountered by him after the vicious assault.
At the dinner function, people were told that Pan had made “unreasonable demand to CASS” after the assault. The public brawl revealed to the community about the existence of conflict within CASS after the assault of Pan.
23 May 2006
CASS was presented with the 2006 Excellence in Business Award (community contribution) by the Hurstville City Council. Pan was also given a special acknowledgment personally for his community contribution with an Award.
Pan announced in the press that he had resumed his role as the Chairperson of CASS from 1 June 2006. Brian Wong responded hurriedly that he was still acting as the Chairperson.
A number of community leaders attempted to mediate in the apparent conflict within CASS. None of those endeavours were successful.
1 July 2006
A Board meeting was held which was attended by five directors, two Alternate Directors and a number of non-Board members. Henry Pan, Peng Bai and Bo Zhou did not take part.
With no procedural fairness, Bo Zhou was removed as a Director, and Pan’s Chairperson position was declared vacant without explanation. In breach of the CASS Rules, the “vacant” Director position of Zhou was filled by Say Choon Teoh, a person outside the Board. Then, Teoh was ‘elected unopposed’ as the Chairperson of CASS. In further breaching of the CASS Rules, five persons were ‘appointed’ as Alternate Directors. Four of them had just joined CASS.
10 – 19 July 2006
The hearing of the criminal assault case of Pan was held at the NSW Supreme Court. The evidences presented in the court showed clearly that Pan was resolving a custody case with the Police in his capacity as the Chairperson of CASS at the time of the assault. The perpetrator was convicted by a jury and sentenced to a 14.5 years jail term. No CASS Board or staff members attended any part of the court hearing.
20 July 2006
The booklet prepared under the Chinese Crime Prevention Project undertaken by CASS was officially uploaded onto the CASS website at a launch held at the CASS Activity Centre. The ceremony was attended by The Hon. Philip Ruddock MP, Attorney General, and Senator Connie Fierravanti-Wells representing Senator, The Hon. Chris Ellison, Minister for Justice and Customs.
21 July 2006
Pan held a press conference for the first time after the assault. He provided an account of the assault, his encounter with the CASS Board after the assault, and the breach of CASS Rules by certain members of the Board in restructuring the CASS Board on 1 July.
28 July 2006
The Board, led by Teoh, held a press conference to respond to the issues raised by Pan. A Public Statement was released, containing numerous allegations which included: Pan was not on approved CASS duty at the time of his assault, his insurance claim would cause severe financial burden to CASS, etc. After the press conference, a large quantity of this press release was printed at a significant cost to CASS, and it was distributed widely in the community.
A number of Board members and the CEO attended various groups in CASS to spread unfounded rumours to defame Pan.
28 August 2006
A group of concerned and long standing members of CASS held a press conference to announce the formation of an “Action Group” who had lodged a requisition by 69 members to ask the CASS Board for the holding of a Special General Meeting (SGM) to account and discuss recent issues in CASS.
16 September 2006
The 25th Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held at the Head Office premises. It was rushed in an attempt by the Board to brush aside the requisition for the holding of a SGM. It was the first time that the AGM of our Society was not held within the statutory required period of five months after the close of the financial year of our Society, and the Board gave no reasons for the delay.
Without any prior notification and information to the members, the Board invoked the “active membership” provision of the Rules of our Society. Members were arbitrary classified in order to prohibit a large number of long-standing members from participating in the AGM. Media personnel were also prohibited to enter the CASS Head Office premises where the AGM was held. The meeting was stacked with newly recruited members. About a dozen private security guards were hired to forcefully execute the orders of the Board in restricting longstanding members to enter the AGM venue.
The actions of the Board in regard to the AGM were roundly condemned by many people in the community. Relationship with the Chinese media was strained. The Board was directed by the regulatory authority to re-convene the AGM as the financial statements presented at the AGM were deemed invalid as they were not audited.
25 November 2006
The Board held the re-convened 25th AGM at a hired venue in Campsie and used the same high-handed oppressive measures against a large number of members to attend the Meeting.
16 December 2006
At a lunch function, Teoh announced the appointment of Tony Pun and James Lee as Advisers to the Board then.
Pan was presented with an award by the Australian Council of Chinese Organisations (AUSCOCO) to recognise his tireless voluntary efforts in serving the community through his work in CASS.
3 February 2007
A group of zealous members together with some community leaders organised a lunch at the Auburn RSL to express community appreciation to Pan and acknowledge his long, dedicated and unceasing voluntary service in CASS which benefited many people. A large crowd of nearly 500 people turned up to pay tribute to Pan, including Hon. Philip Ruddock, Attorney General, and a number of Federal and State MPs from various party backgrounds, Councillors, Consul, departmental officers and community leaders.
At a function hosted by the NSW Government to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the Premier, Hon. Morris Iemma, presented Pan with the prestigious Quang Tart Life Achievement Chinese Community Service Award to acknowledge the outstanding voluntary contribution by Pan in CASS to serve the community.
The receipt of Award and community acknowledgment by Pan in regard to his work for CASS should have been a very honourable and proud event for CASS. However, none of the information was mentioned in any publication of CASS during that time even though the Board printed quite a number of newsletters on the work of CASS due to the soured relationship with the Chinese media.
16 – 18 February 2007
CASS organised the Chinese New Year Chinatown Markets in the City of Sydney for the second time.
CASS members, William Luong, Henry Pan, etal, commenced legal proceeding in the Supreme Court of NSW against Four Board members, Say Choon Teoh, Peter Leong, Brian Wong, Peter Yee, and CASS (the Board), for conducting the business of CASS not in accordance with the Rules of CASS and proper corporate governance and in an oppressive manner to the members.
The operation of our Darling Harbour Child Care Centre was ceased due to safety concerns arising from a serious traffic accident, in which damage was caused to the building of the Centre. The incident led to a review by the Powerhouse Museum, who owned the premises of the Centre, on the suitability of operating a child care facility on the premises. It was concluded that a child care facility situated at the intersection of two very busy roads possessed very high safety risks, and therefore, the Centre should cease operation.
Received funding from DADHC to carry out a research project to understand the unmet need of HACC services amongst the frail aged people in the Korean community.
Our Campsie Women’s Group and our Bankstown Activity Group conducted for the first time the charity fund raising activity “Australian Biggest Morning Tea” to support the NSW Cancer Council.
30 May 2007
At the Tenancy Rights Information Expo organised by CASS, the Hon. Linda Burney MP, Minister for Fair Trading launched the Tenancy Rights DVD, CD and the Chinese web page produced by CASS under a funding from the NSW Office of Fair Trading.
26 July 2007
Launched the Ageing With Style Project in the City of Sydney. This project received funding from the Lord Mayor Salary Trust for 2007/2008. The Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP attended the launch in person.
CASS Ashfield Centre was closed due to the poor financial state of our Society. Some of the services and activities were relocated, while some were ceased.
The services and activities conducted at the CASS Education, Training and Counselling Centre were abruptly moved out of No. 21 Seventh Avenue, Campsie, and relocated to either the Head Office or the Peakhurst Child Care Centre premises. The CASS Board then secretly arranged to sell the No. 21 property. The illegal attempt to sell the property was unsuccessful as the Chinese media found out the plot and reported the matter accordingly, leading to condemnation by the community and the investigation by relevant authority into the matter.
30 September 2007
The Peakhurst Child Care Centre was abruptly closed as the Board was unable to resolve the low enrolment situation which had existed for more than a year.
Received funding from the NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service to publicise and assist in the operation of the Chinese Quit Line in the Chinese Community.
25 October 2007
Following professional mediation, the two parties, those members who commenced court proceeding and those directors being sued and the Board, signed an Agreement, which set out the terms of holding the 26th AGM, for members to decide on the issues being litigated. Under the Agreement, an Organising Committee chaired by an independent party, Cr. Clifton Wong, was formed with irrevocable authority delegated by the Board to organise and conduct the AGM, and the alteration of the CASS Rules concerning the ‘Active Membership’ qualifications and the eligibility of members to attend and vote at AGM. For the 2007 AGM only, members must pay the annual membership subscription to be deemed as active members.
9 December 2007
The 26th AGM was held at a hired premises in Hurstville with more than 270 active members attended in person, and about 130 active members appointed representatives under the Power of Attorney arrangement to attend the Meeting. The audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2006 showed an operating deficit of about $46,000. A new Board was elected by the members and the team led by Pan, on the platform with the slogan “Support Henry Pan, Rebuild and Save CASS”. Eight out of the nine director positions and all six alternate director positions were won by the Pan’s Team. Pan received the highest votes and he was the only remaining Director from the previous Board.
10 December 2007
The newly elected Board appointed Mr Andrew Lau as the Chairperson and Ms Theresa Kwong as the Secretary. Bee Koh resigned as CEO.
The court proceeding brought upon by those members to resolve the problems in the Society was formally terminated.
DoHA confirmed that the application for providing Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) and EACH Dementia (EACHD) services in the Northern and South East Region of Sydney was successful. The two services were for the Chinese speaking seniors who have high care needs.
The CASS Education, Training and Counselling Centre was re-established at No. 21 Seventh Avenue, Campsie. Staff members previously stationed at this location but relocated in September 2007 were moved back to this work location.
15 March 2008
The Board resolved to rescind the resolution passed on 25 February 2006 by the then Board, saying that Henry Pan was not on approved CASS duty at the time of his assault. The insurance company was informed of this Board’s decision and it was prepared to re-consider Pan’s claim.
18 April 2008
A launch was organised at our Hurstville Child Care Centre for the start of implementing the ‘Early Computer Literacy Program’ and the ‘Early Reading Program’. The NSW Minister for Community Services, Hon. Kevin Greene MP, was in attendance to officiate the launch.
24 April 2008
Organised for the first time, an information expo ‘Know Your Legal Rights – Family Law Expo’ at our Campsie Activity Centre. The NSW Attorney General, Hon. John Hatzistergos, officiated the opening of the event.
Purchased the residential property at 681 Forest Road, Peakhurst, with a bank loan for future development purposes.
Certain Board members were plotting behind the scene to bring personnel from outside CASS having close association with them but with no appropriate experience and knowledge of managing a community services provider to take up key management positions in CASS with the obvious aim of wanting to control CASS. The plot was uncovered and was fiercely opposed by several Board members. The matter brought out underlying issues in the Board.
Held in Ashfield, for the first time, a series of workshops on men’s health were organized for the Chinese community.
7 May 2008
A special ceremony was held at our Campsie Activity Centre to celebrate the 27th Anniversary of CASS. The function was attended by Hon. Laurie Ferguson, the Parliamentary Secretary for the Settlement and Multicultural Affairs, Cr. Robert Furolo, the Mayor of Canterbury and Madam Li Yanduan, Deputy Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Sydney.
Conducted a campaign to raise funds for the victims of the Sichuan earthquake in China. About $13,000 was raised.
Established a Day Care Centre in Wollongong for frail Chinese seniors residing in the area. The new ongoing service is funded by DADHC.
15 June 2008
Some Board members attempted to hold a Board meeting to push through their plan to control CASS to achieve its agenda. However, the attempt did not materialise as there was insufficient quorum as some Board members became aware of the plot and refused to attend the meeting.
31 August 2008
The 27th AGM was held at a hired premises in Campsie. The audited Financial Statements for the year ending 31 December 2007 showed an unprecedented large operating deficit of over $620,000. The elections for the three directors and six alternate directors were hotly contested.
2 September 2008
A Community and Family Harmony Event was organised at the Ashfield Town Hall. The Ashfield Mayor, Cr. Ted Cassidy officiated the Opening Ceremony.
12 September 2008
The Board held its first meeting after the AGM and Dr. Leng Tan was elected the Chairperson with Mr Tao Bai the Secretary.
27 September 2008
In conjunction with a number of mainstream service providers, organised an ‘Employment Expo’ at the Strathfield Chambers. A total of 17 service providers set up information stalls at the event. Over 360 people attended the occasion.
7 October 2008
Four directors tendered their resignation separately and successively in the day with the same reason that each of them was busy in personal matters with no time for community work.
10 October 2008
Two resigned directors, together with a former director, who was not re-elected by members at the AGM in August, held a press conference to make a number of allegations about the operation, the financial management and the corporate governance of CASS. The Board resolved not to respond to unfounded allegations to avoid wasting time on unnecessary argument where the priority then was to endeavour to bring the Society onto the stable and financially viable operating path.
Received funding from the NSW Multicultural Health Communications Service and organised a total of 5 information sessions on ‘Wise Use of Medicine’ in Ultimo, Eastwood, Auburn, Hurstville and Bankstown respectively.
7 November 2008
Worked in partnership with the Hurstville City Council in organising the ‘Hurstville Council Chinese Community Open Day’.
Purchased the residential property at 67 Fifth Avenue, Campsie with a bank loan for future development purposes.
5 December 2008
After a break of a few years, external End-of-Year Party was again held. The newly arrived Consul General of the PR China in Sydney, His Excellency Hu Shan, was the Guest-of-Honour.
On a totally voluntary basis, Pan was appointed by the Board as the Honorary Executive Director to manage the operations of CASS.
Conducted a campaign to raise fund for the victims of the Victorian Bush Fire. a sum of over $10,000 was raised.
4 April 2009
A Corporate Planning Day was held to chart the course of CASS for the next 3 to 4 years. About 60 active members, volunteers and staff members participated in the endeavour to brainstorm and discuss ideas for the development of CASS.
17 April 2009
The ‘Early Computer Literacy Program’ was launched for our Campsie Child Care Centre, which was attended by Hon. Linda Burney MP, NSW Minister for Community Services, and Councillor Robert Furolo, Mayor of Canterbury.
Received a one-year funding from DoHA for a Chinese Community Dementia Awareness Project.
CASS signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NSW Cancer Council to enter into a formal partnership relationship.
Received a small grant from the Multicultural Health Communications Service to organize the “Healthy and Tasty Challenge 2009 Recipe Contest” in the Chinese Community. More than 50 recipes were received.
Due to a reduction in its national funding level, DIAC only approved three grants to CASS under the Settlement Grants Program for 2009/2010 financial year. As a result, the areas covered by our settlement services were reduced, and the geographical areas remained to be covered were: Inner West Region, St. George Region and Canterbury-Bankstown Region.
12 July 2009
A Charity Concert in aid of the Hurstville Public School Building Project was staged at the Marana Auditorium in Hurstville. The concert featured a ballet performance titled “Sleeping Princess”. Over 450 people attended the performance, including Hon. Kevin Greene, NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing, Sports and Recreation, Cr. Vince Badalati, Mayor of Hurstville. The Concert raised a sum of $13,680.
Purchased the residential property at 184 Boundary Road, Peakhurst with a bank loan for future development purposes. This property is adjacent to our former Peakhurst Child Care Centre.
Received funding from the NSW Community Relations Commission for the running of a Harmony Project in the Inner West in 2009/2010.
17 November 2009
An Information Expo on Understanding Dementia was held in Ashfield and was officially opened by the Mayor of Ashfield, Clr Ted Cassidy. The event was part of a project funded by DoHA.
4 December 2009
Celebrated 15 years of settlement services with a ceremony in conjunction with the End-of-Year Party. Former Minister for Immigration, Hon. Philip Ruddock and departmental officers were in attendance.
8 December 2009
Starting to publish articles under the pen-name “Kending” in the weekend magazine of the Australian Chinese Daily (ACD). The initiative was first brought up by Mr Wilson Ng, Chief Editor of ACD, and a page in the weekend magazine was allocated to CASS on an ongoing basis. The page has been named “The CASS Column” and all articles published related to the work undertaken and services and activities provided by CASS.
11 December 2009
Our Health, Ageing and Disability Services (HADS) Unit celebrated its 10th anniversary with the holding of a luncheon. It was attended by over 180 clients and their family members, and Hon Linda Burney MP, NSW Minister for State Plan and Minister for Community Services, and Cr Robert Furolo, Mayor of Canterbury. A souvenir book detailing the work of the HADS Unit was also published.
6 March 2010
Our Campsie Child Care Centre celebrated its 25th Anniversary with an Open Day event. The Hon. Linda Burney MP, NSW Minister for Community Services, officiated the ceremony.
Won a NSW Government tender to provide sub contract services to NSW Home Care for 3 years. The services include domestic assistance, personal care and in-home respite. The regions in Sydney to be covered are: Inner West, South East, South West, Northern and Cumberland/ Prospect.
Held a volunteers’ training course in Sydney under a funding awarded by the City of Sydney.
22 May 2010
The 29th AGM of the Society was held at the Head Office. The Board announced that after a long period of extensive investigation, the company underwriting the insurance of CASS had found that significant public and private comments generated as a result of Pan’s assault in January 2006 were “hearsay”, thus, the Company accepted Pan’s insurance claim for his injuries caused by the assault under the volunteers’ accident insurance cover.
Members attending the AGM also unanimously passed the two motions relating to the enhancement of the operation and management of CASS as recommended by the Board, firmly and decisively rejected the allegations made by those former directors.
1 July 2010
With a bank loan, the Society acquired a child care centre in St. Leonards.
In support of the Chinese farmers, CASS wrote to the NSW Land and Property Management Trust to express our objection to the proposal to extend the Botany Cemetery to the heritage-listed land used by the Chinese Vegetable Market to grow vegetables in Philip Bay.
17 August 2010
A new activity group named the Huajin Activity Group was officially formed. This group conducts social dancing activity at the Kingsgrove Community Centre once a week.
Carried out work intensively behind the scene to facilitate the resolution of the dispute between the parents and the NSW Department of Education and Training regarding the proposal to relocate the senior and OC classes of the Hurstville Public School to an adjacent Boys’ High School. The matter was satisfactorily resolved.
20 November 2010
The Premier, Hon. Kristina Keneally, the NSW Minister for Education, Hon. Verity Firth, the NSW Attorney General and Minister for Citizenship, Hon. John Hatzistergos, the NSW Minister for Local Government, Hon. Barbara Perry, together with two MLCs, Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane and Hon. Sophie Cotsis, visited our Chinese School in Kogarah as part of their schedule to visit weekend community language schools run by a number of ethnic communities to understand first hand on the problems and the achievements of the schools. Our Chinese School was chosen to represent the Chinese community due to our good reputation.
8 December 2010
Signed a three years MOU with the NSW Cancer Council to continue the cooperation between the two organisations. The former Premier of NSW, Hon. Barrie Unsworth, witnessed the signing of the MOU.
10 December 2010
New-look CASS Website was launched by the former NSW Premier, Hon. Morris Iemma.
Strive Towards A Quality Organisation And Achieving Self Sustainability
Starting from nothing, over the last 30 years, the Society has made achievements in six broad areas – family and children’s services, health, ageing and disability services, settlement and miscellaneous services, running social and recreational activities, fostering cultural development and community exchange and undertaking community capacity building work, including the safeguarding of the rights of people of Chinese descent, promoting community harmony and assisting other organisations to raise funds for various worthy community and humanitarian causes.
To continue our work on our objectives, CASS must not only diversify its services provided, but also strive to diversify financially, seeking self-reliance as much as possible. Many of the services or activities provided by CASS are financially subsidised, e.g. the seniors’ activities. In order to support these services or activities, there must be projects, services or activities that can bring in surplus fund to enable the support of loss-making services or activities.
We must ensure that our operation is competitive and is providing quality services to our clients. To do so, we must operate with a lean, efficient, dynamic, well-equipped professional team, and embrace the chase of excellence in service quality provision and the principle of continuous improvements at all times.
CASS has walked through thirty years. With the endeavour of many people, it has set a good foundation, and the direction for future development is clear. At the time when we are celebrating the 30th Anniversary of CASS, together with all those people who cherish its existence and are fondly attached to it, we wish it will make further progress and success in the years ahead.