Guest speaker: Meredith Hunter
NOTE: We have changed the date and time of this meeting to Saturday 30 August from 2:30 - 4:00pm.
The meeting will be at the Belconnen Library and, as previously advised, the guest speaker will be Meredith Hunter. We will take a little time here to have our Annual General Meeting. Nominations will be called for all positions – President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary and Committee. If you wish to nominate yourself, or some one else, please email email@example.com.
STOP PRESS: Desperately seeking more volunteers for our committee.
Annual General Meeting
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Vena Murray, Shirley Gourgaud, Lyn Jenkins, Graham Hamilton, Bryan Pratt.
Copies of the report are tabled and Chris Watson outlines the main points.
DISCUSSION OF YEARS EVENTS
Doug tables map of Riverview Master plan with a 300m corridor super imposed upon it.
Discussion of the planning process from here onwards. Planning submission has gone to both the ACT and the Yass Valley Council.
Discussion of the implications of the proposal. 30,000 people will occupy the final full development, 11,500 dwellings, land sales will be some 4 billion in value. Final development will be larger than the Weston Creek area.
Emphasis should be on preserving good conservation corridors (300m) along both the Murrumbidgee River and the Ginninderra Creek.
Doug Finlayson tables the formally audited accounts for the year.
Moved they be accepted. Doug Finlayson. Seconded Dirk Von Beherens.
Doug points out that the issue of Public Liability has still not been resolved. We may have Public Liability under our membership of the Cons. Council but this has yet to be explicitly confirmed by the Cons. Council.
Doug formally thanks Darryl Seto for his ongoing work which he puts into the GFA website.
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 Connelly. Duly elected.
- There were three nominations for the Committee, Ms Ellen Proust/Robinson, Ms Alana Hallinan and Mr Darryl Seto. Duly elected.
The AGM was then closed and the General Meeting commenced with the presentation from Meredith Hunter.
PRESENTATION BY MEREDITH HUNTER.
Meredith covered a wide range of topics related to strategies to get the Ginninderra Falls opened to the public and to get adequate land set aside for conservation areas.
She reviewed the history of the area and mentioned that the Hyles had kindly arranged for her to visit the area. She recalled the time during the late 90’s and early 2000 when the area was open to the public. She visited the Falls at that time.
She reviewed the history of the area in relation to interaction with the ACT Government. In particular that the area is very close and accessible from the ACT but is of course part of NSW and any administration of the area is a NSW responsibility. From her time as an ACT assembly member she mentioned two ongoing problems
- Rubbish dumping along Parkwood Road
- Policing of people doing burnouts etc.
The rubbish dumping problems along Parkwood Road was resolved with the ACT taking over responsibility for cleaning it up. However the issue of policing has still not been resolved and people doing burn outs etc is still a problem.
Merdith covered the ACT Governments interaction with Riverview. She was aware of this interaction during her time in the ACT assembly. She is definitely of the opinion that conservation matters within the ambit of the current CBC. She reinforced the need for the Association to continue to lobby the ACT Government for conservation representation on the CBC and that proper terms of reference and formal minutes be undertaken. She suggested we write to the ACT Commissioner for the Environment to see if they could lobby for better conservation representation on the committee.
In discussion of the Riverview proposal they certainly have an impressive array of consultants BUT there is still a need for independent assessment of the proposal. This at the moment seems to be lacking. She suggests we form alliances with other like minded groups to apply pressure for independent assessment. We should also continue lobbying ACT assembly members and in particular get a member of the opposition to table a “notice of motion” regarding the development. Also of course keep Shane Rattenbury in the loop.
There will be more and more cross border issues evident in the years to come and environmental issues should be “part and parcel” of any development. She congratulates us for being part of a very important group.
Keep up pressure for newspaper articles etc. Keep all ACT assembly members informed not just members from the Ginninderra electorate. This will be a long campaign.
QUESTIONS FROM THE AUDIENCE
Graeme Barrow. Who are the most appropriate assembly member to ask questions related to the issue. Meredith suggest opposition members, they do have environmental credentials (Vicki Dunn in relation to the Aranda snow gum reserve.
Graeme Barrow. What strategy should the new committee follow going forward.
STRATEGY GOING FORWARD.
Meredith suggest analogy with UC Chancellors plan. Just have three very well defined objectives. She suggests initial objective should be to get membership of the CBC.
Discussion from the floor. The 300m corridor will be a clear strategy to follow. It was noted that in the Molonglo development the fire buffers were moved as part of the development rather than being a separate buffer extra to any conservation buffer.
Christopher Watson (August 2014)
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Your Committee Team
Thanks to you all, especially our Secretary, John Connelly, for his meticulous minutes. Our treasurer, Doug Finlayson, not only keeps our finances in good shape, but also regularly writes a ‘Park Update’ with great pictures (these articles have also been printed in the magazines of the ACT National Parks Association and National Trust). The help of Vice President, Brian Rhynehart, and also Vena Murray, was much appreciated. Darryl Seto, our webmaster, ensures information goes far and wide! Darryl is also organising an art exhibition to be staged at the Belconnen Arts Centre in 2015. Our Patron, Dr Bryan Pratt, was ever willing to have a chat and give advice; we now look forward to advice from our new Co-Patron, Meredith Hunter.
We’ve had deputations a-plenty, namely, ACT Assembly Members, Yvette Berry, Mary Porter, Mick Gentleman, Shane Rattenbury and Alistair Coe; also Federal Members, Andrew Leigh MHR, Senator Zed Seselja and Angus Taylor MHR. There have been continuing contacts and help, from the ACT National Trust, ACT National Parks Association, Ginninderra Catchment Group, Belconnen Community Council and the Conservation Council; also, frequent meetings with local landowner and developer, David Maxwell, who is the director of Riverview (Projects) Pty Ltd.
National Park Investigations
As a result of our urging, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service in 2013 assessed 274 ha in the area centred on Ginninderra Falls and near the Murrumbidgee River – Ginninderra Creek confluence. Their report, received by us in November 2013, acknowledged the area’s “conservation and recreational opportunities”, but unfortunately, said that it was “not a priority for purchase”. Of course, one would not expect the NSW government to give these Gorges a priority since visitors would come almost entirely from the ACT residents and tourists.
Money for purchase will have to come from a number of sources, particularly from the ACT, and hopefully, from NSW and Federal governments. ‘Conservation Covenants’, too, are also a way forward, as well as philanthropy.
Likelihood of Nearby Urbanisation
There is an imminent proposal afoot to rezone rural lands which are adjacent to Murrumbidgee and Ginninderra Gorges, for urban use. If approved, the landowners will, no doubt, benefit from a very significant increase in the value of their properties. The most recent plan put forward by the developer, despite our lobbying, has housing coming very close to Ginninderra and Murrumbidgee Gorges in NSW; at the location of the upper Ginninderra Falls, buildings are less then 100m away!
Our forthcoming submission and hopefully, those from a whole host of our supporters, must seek adequate corridors of at least 300m form these scenic and biologically diverse Gorges.
‘National Park Working Group’ Sidelined
We have long sought the formation of a ‘Cross-border working group’ to bring a National Park centred at Ginninderra Falls to fruition. Park and wildlife experts from the ACT and NSW would survey lands bordering both sides of the Murrumbidgee River and Ginninderra Creek, and include the Murrumbidgee Gorge continuing well below the Ginninderra Creek confluence.
Unfortunately, this idea has not found favour with all three jurisdictions, viz, NSW, ACT and Yass Valley Council. Instead, we’ve had letters asking us to interact with a loosely structured forum entitled the ‘West Belconnen Cross Border Steering Committee’, chaired by the ACT’s Land Development Agency. When we addressed this Committee, there were no Park’s representatives present; however, there were a number of developer personnel in attendance. We have now written to the ACT Minister for Regional Development, Katy Gallagher MLA, requesting that this committee be formally structured, and include Park professionals.
A letter has now been sent to the ‘NSW Cross Border Commissioner’ asking that a specific ‘National Park Working Group’ should be convened. A reply is awaited!
Our Petition (People Power!)
Following a generally lack-lustre response from all our deputations to politicians, we have now belatedly realised the pressing need to seek visible support from Canberra residents at large. Together with the advice of Damon Cusack of the Ginninderra Catchment Group and Robyn Coghlan of the Belconnen Community Council, we have now circulated a petition highlighting the need that the Ginninderra Falls area becomes a public National Park.
We now urge you all to get as many signatures as possible from family and friends. Its format is simple and suitable for schools and colleges, as well as shopfronts; hands up for those who can help!
We now need to sell the idea to all Canberrans of the responsibility to conserve and cherish these grand Gorges with their unique vegetation, so close to ACT’s northern border. Please encourage families to view the Murrumbidgee River and its Gorge, extending from the ACT into NSW, from Shepherds Lookout, not far down from Strathnairn Art Centre on Stockdill Drive, Holt. Why not the vision of walking trails along the Ginninderra Creek wildlife corridor from Lake Ginninderra to Ginninderra Falls, and along the Murrumbidgee River from ACT to Burrinjuck!
Let’s take a lesson from the recent campaign by Yarralumla resident’s intent on preserving ‘liveable’ lifestyles because of nearby urban densification. We also need to contemplate our necessary conservation and recreational needs. Sadly, current governments are concentrating on economic growth models, which are putting undue emphasis on evermore housing for an increasing population.
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 2013 to 30 June 2014.
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 2013-14 financial year was 51.
A statement of accounts is attached. The Association bank cheque account exists with the St George Bank(BSB 112-908; Account number 447299 504) with five signatories (President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Public Officer), anyone 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. In summary these accounts indicate the following -
|Net bank and cash assets at 1 July 2013
Total income, 2013-14
Total expenditure, 2013-14
Net bank and cash assets at 30 June 2014
The statement of accounts for the financial year 2013 to 2014 is attached.
- 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. After taking advice, it was found that the public liability insurance held by the Conservation Council of the ACT also covers its member associations.
- The Association maintains a web site that incurs commercial administration and running costs.
- At the present membership fee level of $20.00 per year per person (no family membership) the Association just meets its administrative costs for hiring meeting venues, running excursions, and reimbursing the reasonable expenses of the Association executive.
- It is known that Association committee members absorb many of the costs associated with running the Association and they are thanked for this financial support.
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, Australian National University, for auditing the Association accounts.
Hon. Treasurer, Ginninderra Falls Association
4 August, 2014
|Opening bank balance 1 July 2013 =||$973.45|
|Cash in hand, 1 July 2013 =||$60.00|
|TOTAL assets, 1 July 2013 =||$1,033.45|
|Membership fees and donations||$890.00|
|Social function profit||$287.95|
|Public liability insurance||$662.00|
|Printing and postage||$102.45|
|Web site management||$102.52|
|Social function supplies||$136.90|
|Operating profit (loss)||$313.25|
|Closing bank balance, 30 June 2014||$1,325.72|
|Cash in hand, 30 Jun, 2014||$20.98|
|TOTAL assets, 30 June 2014||$1,346.70|
D. M. Finlayson, Treasurer
Beryl Rawson Building (13), Level 1
ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences
The Australian National University
ACT 0200 AUSTRALIA
4 August, 2014
To whom it may concern
Audit of the accounts of the Ginninderra Falls Association for the financial year 2013-2014
This is to certify that I have examined the accounts and financial records of the Ginninderra Falls Association (ACT Association Number AO5244) for the financial year 1 July 2013 to 31 June 2014 and find that the attached Treasurer's Report and Statement of Accounts is deemed to be a true record of financial transactions for the financial year 2013-2014.
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
Australian National University