AESL/ERC Collaboration


To All Organisations,

We’d like to hear from you:
Please include the AESL and ERC Collaboration topic in your next meeting’s agenda and let us know if you have any questions/ concerns/ suggestions about the Collaboration project.

Who to contact:
Reta Jurgenson Lembit Marder will represent AESL Committee. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Martin Kurvits (Adelaide) and Lembit Suur (Sydney) are regional AESL representatives.

Hello from AESL Committee in Melbourne:
With the conclusion of the AESL’s AGM in Sydney on 27 January, 2018, the AESL Executive Committee has now officially moved from Sydney to Melbourne.

AESL Executive Committee in Melbourne is very excited to represent Austraalia Eesti Seltsid for the next three years and continue the great work started by the previous AESL Committees. 

In effort to increase AESL profile and the level of engagement with the communities you represent, we would like to use emails and other ways to be in more frequent contact. The environment around us is changing and we will bring to you matters that are important to continuing existence and prosperity of Estonian communities in Australia.

AESL and ERG Collaboration:
One of these matters that the Melbourne AESL Committee has to manage is the proposed AESL and ERC Collaboration, which has been discussed for number of years, including as part of 2016 and 2017 AGM Agenda.

As we know, from the past AESL AGMs, AGM materials, or from your city AESL representatives – this collaboration is a work in progress. In short, the proposed Collaboration would see AESL and ERC combine their currently separate finances into one joint financial fund. The current proposal is that both AESL and ERC, despite combined finances, would continue to exist as separate entities with separate constitutions. Said that, both constitutions would require amendments to accommodate changes that the financial unity would bring.

For more information, please see attached documentation from the last AESL AGM. Collaboration discussions are at its infancy, the teams are currently discussing the Project Management Principles, including how the negotiations will be conducted, how the issues/ actions will be tracked, what legal support will be required, etc. The Collaboration discussions will, among many other topics, include: AESL registration as association; Membership differences (AESL – organisation based versus ERC –individual based), voting rights and representation for organisations; Management of joint fund – investment risk and returns, accessibility of funds, equitable grant allocation; and Future application process for and prioritisation of grants. It is all of ours’ responsibility to think along, and once we have the draft, then to be ready to know if all is there what we want there to be.

AESL is an umbrella organisation that unites around 20 Estonian organisations all over Australia. AESL is one of the organisations belonging to the Estonian World Organisation.

AESL is not a legal entity at all. In the eyes of Australia, it does not exist (Many Estonian Societies in Australia, like Estonian Society in Melbourne for example - are incorporated. AESL is not). AESL’s main value is its annual meeting – where all the society leaders meet and where all the information is gathered about activities of all Estonian organisations in Australia.

AESL’s main activity is to support what is important to Estonians all over Australia – events, enterprises that are not a city specific but carry value to all – i.e newspaper Meie Kodu, S6rve Children’s camp, teaching of Estonian language, Eesti Paevad. Where does the money come from? Currently we hold about $250,000. This has been mainly inherited from 2 Estonians, and we collect annual donations of 6 to 8 thousand a year. This is a very small amount. AESL money is running out, we will not be sustainable for more than the next 10 years.

There is another organisation that has received big funds from selling the Estonians retirement village Thirlmere – Estonian Relief Committee. They hold currently around $850,000.

For the past couple of years, there have been a discussion, how could we unite these two - AESL and ERC. Leading this conversation are Lembit Suur (Sydney), Reta Jurgenson (Melbourne) and Martin Kurvits (Adelaide) on behalf of AESL; Mart Rampe, Maie Barrow and Juho Looveer on behalf of ERC. Lawyers are working on what would be the best legal format for this unity, Finance professionals will suggest how best to invest our new total of about 1 million. We, the AESL members should think along - what should be the role of AESL in this unity? Please send Reta and Lembit your suggestions. If no suggestions at this stage, at least we should well be aware of the collaboration.


Thank you, Sirje Jõgi Rivers

AESL Committee Secretary