Posted by Margaret Mason
The meeting was held on Zoom. 20 members participated.
Guests: Tony and Sossi from Cilantro and Barbara from the Rotary Club of Moorabbin.
Guest Speaker: Chris Mara.
Chris spoke about the Project for Indigenous Australians. He said that he commenced his involvement with Indigenous issues while he was working at Coles. The project was established as a philanthropic and Employment idea.
There are 2 arms to the project. One is to assist young Aboriginals to gain employment by providing a training course to equip them for employment. Most of them secure employment after the program, particularly in retail. This program commenced in 2003/04n and the focus was boosted when Wesfarmers acquired Coles. The program gained momentum with Wesfarmers interest and management executive support. There are now in excess of 6000 Aboriginal employees in the 800 Coles stores around Australia. This constitutes approximately 6% of the staff numbers.
The other arm of the project is to assist Aboriginal farmers to sell bush produce. The produce is packaged into products which people will buy.  Currently, assistance is given to Aboriginal farmers to grow produce for customers. It is mostly a cottage industry and has gained success on a small scale around Australia. Chris is optimistic about its progress. The message is Aboriginal farmers ‘anchors traditional culture’.
President Helen then listed the forthcoming activities of the club and thanked members who offered to assist in some of the events. Neville advised that there will be a Board meeting on Tuesday 8. February at 7.30 pm.
Tony Fritzlaff advised that Cilantro has planned 2 degustation evenings on Thursday 24 March and Friday 1 April.
The sergeant handed out a number of fines which will be detailed to individuals concerned.
Margaret Mason requested that members keep June 18 free in their diaries for the club changeover.