Public Meeting and AGM: 27 August 2013
Mr Rod Griffiths, President, National Parks Association of the ACT, will be the guest speaker at our next public meeting. The meeting will be
Tuesday 27 August 7:30PM – 9:30PM
Belconnen Library Meeting room
Chandler St Belconnen
This will also be the Association's AGM.
Dirk Bouma, Pam & Jim Grace, John Connolly, Vena Murray, Anna & John Hyles, Phylis Goddard, Mary Porter, Shirley Gourgaud
Chris noted that the work on bio-diversity was not done. (No funding).
Minutes Accepted (Brian Rhynehart, proposer - Doug Finlayson, seconder)
Treasurer's Report (see below)
We went from $410 - $973. The primary cost is public liability insurance, association fees eg, Conservation Council and the website. As an example each public meeting costs $160 for room hire, insurance and publicity (mainly the website). The Association only survives by donations over and above the membership fees.
Doug Finlayson proposed, seconded Chris Watson, that membership fees be immediately raised to $30 (that is, from this meeting as some people have already paid their membership for this year).
President (see below)
The Committee meets every three weeks. We need more people, eg, to look after publicity and media.
We have held quarterly Public meetings and had held our Christmas party overlooking the Falls.
We had one very successful Landowners Meeting. There was a presentation from Queanbeyan officers from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). Landowners are naturally cautious about people now coming to see the area as the walks here are not safe.
The NPWS are expected to release their report soon about the viability of purchasing land here for a national park.
We have been liaising with the NSW Environment Minister, Robyn Parker, and local member, Katrina Hodginskin, (also a Minister) but they have yet to visit the area. There is an outstanding invitation but one planned visit had to be canceled because of their legislative commitments.
The new Yass Valley Council is fully supportive.
We have had a number of correspondence with the ACT Cheif Minister but we have yet to get an undertaking to join a joint working party (Premier Barry O'Farrell's suggestion). Andrew Leigh has offered one of his staff to assist here. The local Labor members urge us to "keep up the passion".
Note that the vast majority of visitors to the proposed park will be ACT residents or ACT tourists.
We have kept in touch with other organisations, eg, we are currently working out a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Trust who wish to promote this proposal.
Our next public meeting will be at Allan Mawer's property at Wallaroo overlooking the Murrumbidgee Gorge. There will be some talks, eg, about the geology and bio-diversity.
We recently gave a presentation to the ACT Regional Development Select Committee.
At a earlier ACT Committee report on Eco-Tourism there were two recommendations supporting our proposal both for national parks and in particular protecting the Ginninderra Falls and their surroundings.
We need to continue to get and keep the active support of ACT and NSW politicians. The example of Googong was mentioned as this area is managed by the ACT. The local Community Councils, Belconnen and Gunghalin are also critical.
The Public Officer, Darryl Seto, took the chair with the assent of the meeting. All positions were declared vacant.
- There was one nomination for President, Dr Chris Watson. Duly elected.
- There was one nomination for vice-President, Mr Brian Rhynehart. Duly elected.
- There was one nomination for Treasurer, Dr Doug Finlayson. Duly elected.
- There was one nomination for Secretary, Mr John Connolly. Duly elected.
- There were three nominations for the Committee, Ms Anna Hyles, Ms Vena Murray and Mr Darryl Seto. Duly elected.
The AGM was then closed and the General Meeting commenced with the presentation from Mr Rod Griffiths, President, National Parks Association of the ACT.
1. Committee Efforts
My thanks for the great team-work throughout the year from the Committee. Meetings were held every 3 weeks, often with follow-up deputations in between.
We now need more people to put their hands up to assist. Urgently wanted is an editor for a regular newsletter, possibly quarterly which not only reports our own activities but collates items from local and regional sources.
The task should range across many boundaries including NSW, ACT and Federal governments, Yass Valley Council and non-governmental groups working in the area. Of course, publicity to all the media will be part of this project.
2. Association Gatherings
Regular quarterly meetings have been scheduled with invitations to the public-at-large included. Topics have included the “Wildlife Corridor Concept” (Damon Cusack from the Ginninderra Catchment Group), “Regional Heritage” (Brian Rhynehart, our Vice-President), “Aboriginal Heritage” (Wally Bell, a traditional custodian) and speakers from the National Parks Association of NSW (Kevin Evans – CEO) and the National Parks Australia Council (Christine Goonrey – President).
A successful afternoon picnic overlooking the lower Ginninderra Falls and the Murrumbridgee Gorge was held on the property of Anne and John Hyles in December. We also thank the Hyles for hosting the visits by Kevin Evans, Christine Goonrey and others.
3. Deputations and Meetings the State of Play
- Landowners Meeting November 2012
A significant occasion, indeed, when some eight owners, occupying land within our proposal, gathered for discussion at a Jamison Club. The key speaker was Gary Saunders, the Planning and Assessment Team Manager at the Queanbeyan Office of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Hopefully another such meeting can be scheduled soon once the NSW Government has reported their findings (see below)
- NSW Government and NSW Parliamentarians
In February 2013 the NSW office of “Premier and Cabinet” informed us that they would be surveying selected properties including the two in the Ginninderra Gorge itself by the end of June. I am told that this survey has now been completed. The findings are keenly awaited with hopefully the formation of a “cross-border working group”. We will need to keep them up to the mark here!
We have had previous correspondence from the NSW Premier, Barry O'Farrell, who has forwarded his letter to Robyn Parker, the NSW Minister for the Environment. Katrina Hodginson, the Member for Burrinjuck, which includes the Park area, has also written to us. However, now we must arrange a meeting, face-to-face either at her Yass Office or on-site!
- Yass Valley Council
Following Doug Finlayson's excellent presentation at the Council's February 'Open Forum' we were very pleased to have a letter from their newly elected Mayor Rowena Abbey. The Council has given us in principle support to the establishment of the Murrumbridgee-Ginninderra Gorges National Park.
We will certainly, as requested, keep the Council updated.
- ACT Government and ACT Parliamentarians
Despite repeated correspondence with the Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher, MLA we have yet to receive a reply.
Certainly, we were grateful that the Assembly's Ecosystem Enquiry Report of 2012 recommended that a new nature park be created in the Ginninderra Falls area.
At prior hearings we emphasized that these Gorges are in close proximity to the ACT, that Canberra already has a large a rapidly growing population, and that almost all visitors will be either ACT residents or tourists.
Indeed, this past week has seen us represented at the Hearings of an ACT Assembly
Enquiry on 'Regional Development'. We made the point that conservation and appropriate development can be mutually beneficial. As an example, we see the co-existence of the wineries, cafes and galleries at Wallaroo alongside the grandeur of the adjacent Murrumbridgee Gorge.
Recently we have met with local Ginninderra MLAs – Yvette Berry, Chris Bourke and Mary Porter, urging them to achieve a fruitful outcome through their Chief Minister.
- Federal Parliamentarians
We have 'in principle' support from Andrew Leigh MHR, Member for Fraser, as well as useful replies from Sentator Gary Humphries and Alby Schulz MHR, the Member for Hume, the electorate in which the Park lies. In the current election campaign we have written to all candidates asking for their support.
Continuing interaction with Federal Parliamentarians is most important, especially as significant funding is likely to need to come from that quarter.
- National Parks Associations (both ACT and NSW)
We have had strong support from both of these Associations. In fact, the ACT President, Rod Griffiths, is addressing this very AGM.
The Sydney-based NSW Association's CEO, Kevin Evans, as well as their 'Reserves Committee Convenor', Brian Everingham, have visited the Ginninderra Gorge site, and given affirmative reports, plus excellent photos.
Both organisations will be kept informed and involved.
- National Trust of Australia (ACT)
Cooperation with the Trust over the past year has been of great benefit. They came to our rescue, insurance-wise, for our inaugural excursion and picnic at the lower Ginninderra Falls. We now hope to shortly consummate a 'Memorandum of Understanding' between our two organisations.
- Ginninderra Catchment Group
The Ginninderra Catchment Group has given us stalwart help from our very beginning. Their Co-ordinator, Damon Cusack, suggests that it is now time to concentrate on the protection and purchase of the Ginninderra Gorge core area; also, the necessity to have a 'business plan' which would estimate financial returns from visitor entry fees once the gorge has been properly provided with trails and viewpoints, as well as an information centre, food and picnic areas.
- Conservation Council, ACT Region
As a Council member it behoves us to get our aims across to its many member bodies, as well as its own subcommittees such as the 'Biodiversity group'. A meeting with Director, Clare Henderson together with Kylie Carpenter, who attended a recent committee meeting, is scheduled soon.
- Riverview Pty Ltd. Major Housing Developer in this Region
The Committee recently had a meeting with David Maxwell of this company in relation to the proposed planning of a housing estate near the Murrumbridgee and Ginninderra Creek corridors. Of particular concern to us is the possible encroachment of building close to both the Ginninderra Gorge and the Murrumbridgee River. Buffer zones, must be of adequate size to ensure the protection of these systems.
It is now time to put the Murrumbridgee Gorge component of our National Park proposal on the radar and sell it to the Canberra Community.
Our forthcoming event on the afternoon of Sunday September 22nd at Allen Mawer's property overlooking the Murrumbridgee Gorge at Walleroo, is a first step. This should ensure that this lovely wooded Gorge is seen as part and parcel of the Park.
The task is not easy as these wooded biodiverse slopes on either side of the Murrumbidgee (and Ginninderra Creek) are all in private hands. In the interim we need to encourage owners (and buyers) to have conservation covenant on their land. We also need strict environment protection from the Yass Valley Council and the NSW Government.
Christopher L. Watson August 2013
The constitution of the Ginninderra Falls Association stipulates that the Association financial year ends on 30 June each year. This report sets out the accounts of the Association for the period 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013.
The income during the financial year was derived totally from members fees and donations that are tax deductable by a few individuals. The number of financial members during the 2012-13 financial year was 48.
A statement of accounts is attached. The Association bank cheque account exists with the St George Bank (BSB 112-908; Account number 447 299 504) with five signatories (President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Public Officer), any one of whom may singly operate the account. A receipt book and a computer file of electronic receipts and bank statements document the Association income.
|In summary these accounts indicate the following –|
|Net bank and petty cash assets at 1 July 2012||$410.00|
|Total income, 2012-13||$1500.00|
|Total expenditure, 2012-13||$997.62|
|Net bank and petty cash assets at 30 June 2013||$973.45|
The statement of accounts for the financial year 2012 to 2013 is attached.
- The Ginninderra Falls Association is obliged to have public liability insurance if it wishes to apply for grants and conduct meetings and excursions. With the current membership level this drained more than 50% of the Association’s total income for the 2012-13 financial year.
- The Association chooses to be affiliated with like-minded associations in the Conservation Council of the ACT and there are membership costs involved.
- The Association maintains a web site that incurs commercial administration and running costs.
- At the present membership fee level of $20.00 per year the Association cannot meet its administrative costs for hiring meeting venues, running excursions, and reimbursing the reasonable expenses of the Association executive without significant income from tax deductable donations. This is not sound management. This funding uncertainty may not be sustained and cannot be relied on.
It is therefore recommended that the annual membership fee be increased to $30.00, a figure more in line with other community associations around Canberra.
The Association wishes to thank the following:
- Organisations that have absorbed some costs associated with the operations of the Ginninderra Falls Association during 2012-13. In particular the Belconnen Community Council and the Ginninderra Catchment Group are thanked for absorbing some costs associated with meeting room hire, catering, printing and web site development costs.
- Individuals, including committee members, who have absorbed costs connected with the operations and administration of the Association and the promotion of the Association in the public domain.
- The Association wishes especially to thank those individuals who have made donations to the Association to help promote the development of the Murrumbidgee – Ginninderra Gorges National Park.
- Ben Natali, Finance Section, ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences for auditing the Association accounts. See attached [44KB].
Hon. Treasurer, Ginninderra Falls Association
14 August, 2013
|Opening bank balance 1 July 2012 =||$100.00|
|Petty cash, 1 July 2013||$310.00|
|Membership fees and donations||$1,500.00|
|Public liability insurance||$429.64|
|Closing bank balance 30 June 2013||$973.45|
|Petty cash, 30 Jun, 2013||$0.00|
|Month 2012-13||Income||Expenditure||1st-of-month bank balance||1st-of-month petty cash|
D. M. Finlayson, Treasurer