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2017 Annual General Meeting

Belconnen Fire Station, Bardi Pl, Macquarie

Nominations for positions

All positions will become vacant. We always need volunteers. If you wish to nominate for any position please send an email to our Public Officer (me) or nominate at the meeting.

Special General Meeting

The AGM will be a special general meeting. The current committee is recommending additional text for the Association's objectives. This follows advice from the Environmental Defender’s Office. Our recommendation is to make it clear that we wish to protect the current environmental values, including biodiversity and heritage values. This environmental focus remains our goal even if our preferred position of creating a national park does not eventuate.

The motion to be put to this meeting is to insert:

  • after the first line 3.1 –

(a1) promote, engage in and ensure the conservation and protection of the environmental values, including biodiversity and heritage values, in the region surrounding the Ginninderra Falls, including the ACT.

(a2) promote the conservation of the built and natural environment in the West Belconnen and adjacent NSW region.

(a3) promote public awareness of the environment surrounding the Ginninderra Falls, in both ACT and NSW, by engaging and disseminating information to the public.

  • after 3.1(a)(ii) –

(iia) advocating and progressing the conservation and protection of the environment in the West Belconnen and adjacent NSW area.

  • after the text "national park" in 3.1(a), 3.1(b) and 3.1(b)(i ) –

, or other protected or conservation area,

Note: Notice of this motion was issued to all members (and supporters) via our Newsletter sent on 11 July 2017. See Murrumbidgee - Ginninderra Gorges National Park: Information Note 54.

Minutes, reports, etc.

GFA AGM Minutes Thur 03-Aug 2017 5:30-6:00 pm Belconnen Fire Station .


Shirley Gourgard.

Minutes of the 2015-16 AGM.

Minutes for the previous AGM were tabled and accepted.

Moved Darryl Seto……….seconded Doug Finlayson


  1. Chris Watson summarised the main achievements for the 2016-17 year and tabled his formal report for the year.   Copies available separately.
  2. Moved that the report be accepted.  ???  Did not note names here

TREASURES REPORT (Doug Finlayson).

Doug tabled the audited accounts for the year 2016-17.  Copies available separately.

Moved that the treasurers report be accepted.   Chris Watson.   Seconded Robyn Coghlan .

Doug Finlayson noted that John Wells of Scullin a retired accountant kindly audited our book “pro bono’


Darryl Seto explained that some amendments to the GFA constitution have been recommended by Camilla Taylor from the EDO ACT. These are required so that we can have “formal legal standing” in relation to making representations to the land and environment court. Darryl explained that “formal legal standing” is required for environmental matters unlike the situation for normal civil or criminal cases.

The motion to be put to this meeting is to insert:

After the first line 3.1-

(a1) promote, engage in and ensure the conservation and protection of the environmental values, including biodiversity and heritage values, in the region surrounding the Ginninderra Falls, including the ACT.

(a2) promote the conservation of the built and natural environment in the West Belconnen and adjacent NSW region.

(a3) promote public awareness of the environment surrounding the Ginninderra Falls, in both ACT and NSW, by engaging and disseminating inforrnation to the public.

After 3.1(a) (ii)-

(iia) advocating and progressing the conservation and protection of the environment in the West Belconnen and adjacent NSW area.

After the text "national park" in 3.1(a), 3.1(b) and 3.1(b) (i )

, or other protected or conservation area,

Moved Darryl Seto. Seconded Dave Kelly. Passed by unanimous show of hands.

Election of Office bearers

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, Ms Robyn Coghlan .
  • Nominated Chris Watson .  Seconded Luis Teran                           Duly elected.
  • There was one nomination for vice-President, Mr David Kelly ..
  • Nominated Chris Watson   Seconded ??                                         Duly elected
  • There was one nomination for Treasurer, Dr Doug Finlayson.
  • Nominated John Connelly    Seconded  ??.                                    Duly elected.
  • There was one nomination for Secretary, Mr John Connelly..
  • Nominated.  Chris Watson  , Seconded Dave Kelly                      . Duly elected
  • There were five  nominations for the Committee, Chris Watson , Brian Rhynehart  Ms Ellen Proust/Robinson, Mr Darryl Seto, Douglas Amarfio .        Duly elected.



  1. Doug Finlayson gave a summary of material presented at the recent Bush Fire Symposium.
  2. Dr Jason Sharples from the University of NSW gave a presentation regarding recent research on dynamic fire behaviour and also the significant effects that are produced by ember attack. He noted that in relation to the Ginninderry development this new research should be taken into account when determining the appropriate Asset Protection Zones. 


President's Annual Report – 2017

Christopher L. Watson. AGM – 3rd August 2017

Special Highlights of 2016-17

Firstly, an Aboriginal Cultural Assessment Report has made us aware of some eight significant sights in the area of the Ginninderra and Murrumbidgee Gorges; for example, the upper Ginninderra Gorge is an important ceremonial area. Secondly, bushfire research undertaken by Professor Jason Sharples of the University of New South Wales has revealed that housing close to the Murrumbidgee and Ginninderra Gorges will be very vulnerable to embers coming from north-westerly forest fires.

Aboriginal Heritage Significance

The Aboriginal Report released in May 2017, is a very thorough assessment researched by Waters Consultancy of Balmain, NSW (two versions: confidential 140pg, public 134pg). We could well need to form a sub-committee to work through the range of recommendations that will come under the auspices of both the Yass Valley Council and the New South Wales Government. Already it has the effect of engendering new housing boundary setbacks by the developer. Sadly, the public of the ACT region is still largely unaware of the significance this area has to the Aboriginal Culture.

Bushfire Impacts

The media coverage in June 2017, following Jason Sharples’ research, has been very fruitful. Our committee, in association with help from the Ginninderra Catchment Group members are to be congratulated; some very large personal donations, as well as ‘crowd funding’ have underpinned this effort. Hopefully it will also put a halt to current development proposals adjacent to both the Murrumbidgee and Ginninderra Gorges.

Threatened Species and Biodiversity Issues

These matters have been well documented by reports instigated by the developer; also, the follow-up efforts by Dr David Wong under the auspices of the Ginninderra Catchment Group. The Federal Environment Protection Biodiversity and Conservation legislation, too, is pertinent. Restoration and regeneration of species, alongside both gorges, are urgently needed, especially alongside the Upper Ginninderra Falls and this must also include the adjacent Quarry, which needs to cease and be restored. On our behalf, the Environmental Defenders Offices (EDO) both in the ACT and NSW are investigating the Quarry issue (also many thanks to the EDO for their current legal efforts).

Park ‘Site-lines’ and Buffer Zones Essential

Boundaries of National Parks must always have wide surrounding buffer areas which exclude any housing development both on the ground and visually. Visitors to the Upper Ginninderra Falls for example, certainly do not want to be confronted with any housing let alone a quarry! The proposed development area is almost on a plateau, so any distant high rise cannot be allowed. We need to seriously take on the thoughts of our patron, Dr Bryan Pratt, who repeatedly emphasises the passive recreation and tourist potential of a National Park so close to ACT’s northern boundary. Think too of regional population growth, which could well reach a million by the centuries end.

Beware: The Rezoning Process!

Rural-to-Urban rezoning is always a financial bonanza for the developer and local land owners. In the coming year Yass Valley Council and the NSW Government will be deciding on this area’s rezoning. Our Association, together with the Ginninderra Catchment Group representatives, have been in frequent contact with the Yass Councillors stressing that any rezoning would be counterproductive to our vision for a Park centred on Ginninderra Falls. It will encompass both sides of Ginninderra Gorge and also upstream and downstream of the Murrumbidgee Gorge at the confluence.

Citizen and Political Involvement Lacking

It is a tragedy that decisions are being made by Yass Council, ACT, NSW and Federal Governments, when so few have been to the Falls itself, for example, an effort made by the new Yass Valley Council to visit the Gorge in May was aborted at the last minute. We must keep pushing! Moreover, the ACT Assembly has still not conducted a public inquiry of this whole cross border development. Unfortunately, housing development inquiries were once mandatory, we should now return to the mandatory inquiries.

Our Committee Team

Work, deputations and submissions a-plenty, with all their myriad aspects keeping us busy; not only from the various impacts of the ‘Ginninderry Development’, but also the need to keep our focus on a National Park vision. Moreover, we need now to catalyse a professional television documentary. We have much in common of course with the Ginninderra Catchment Group and we have wonderful support from its members. Also, we are interacting well with the Frank Fenner Foundation. Thanks to our stirling committee, and sorry to learn that our inaugural member, Graeme Barrow, an eminent author and naturalist, died in May 2017.

Treasurer's Report for the Financial Year 2016-2017

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 2016 to 30 June 2017.

The income during the financial year was derived mostly from members’ fees and a few donations. The number of financial members during the 2016-17 financial year was 24, very disappointing but not unexpected.

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, cheque book and a computer file of electronic receipts and bank statements document the Association income. A record is kept of all Association supporters, whether or not they are financial members.

A significant departure from routine Association activities during 2016-17 was the commissioning and funding of a bushfire report from the University of NSW, Canberra. A separate account of donations and crowdfunding for this project is attached until 30 June, 2017.

In summary, the accounts indicate the following –

Net bank and cash assets at 1 July 2016


Total income, 2016-17


Total expenditure, 2016-17


Net bank assets at 30 June 2017


The statement of accounts for the financial year 2016 to 2017 is attached.

Treasurer’s comments:

  • The Association chooses to be a member of the Conservation Council of the ACT along with other like- minded associations; there is a membership fee.
  • The Ginninderra Falls Association is obliged to have public liability insurance if it wishes to apply for grants and conduct meetings and excursions. This is a significant cost for the Association.
  • The Association maintains a web site that incurs commercial administration and running costs.
  • The membership fee for the financial year 2016-2017 was $35 and it is recommended this fee be retained for 2017-18 (no family membership). Those supporters dependent solely on an aged/disability/study/unemployment Government income may seek membership fee relief from the Association Treasurer (entirely in confidence).
  • The small number of financial members during 2016-2017 is a cause for concern.


The Association wishes to thank the following:

  • 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 specially to thank those individuals who have made donations to the Association.
  • John Wells, for auditing the Association accounts (Former bank branch manager, bookkeeper Kippax Veterinary Hospital).


Treasurers Report 2016_2017_page5_image2.jpg  

Douglas Finlayson
Hon. Treasurer, Ginninderra Falls Association

12 July, 2017

Bushfire report

Audit Report

Audit report


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