Friends of Grasslands 2016 Annual General Meeting

Tuesday 15 March 2016

Lena Karmel Lodge, Barry Drive, Acton ACT

FOG 2016 AGM draft minutes

The meeting opened at 18:00

1.    Attendance and apologies

Attendance:  Sarah Sharp, Margaret Ning, Isobel Crawford, Robert Speirs, Rosemary Blemings, Kim Pullen, Alan Ford, Michael Bedingfield, Ann Milligan, David Crawford, Janet Russell, Andy Russell, Geoff Robertson, Andrew Zelnik, Barbara Payne, Steven Horne, Paul Archer (minutes).

Apologies: Leon Pietsch, Kay Pietsch, John Fitz Gerald, Ross Dennis, Linda Spinaze, Kat Ng, Naarilla Hirsch, Tony Lawson.

2.    Minutes of 2015 AGM

Minutes accepted

Moved Sarah Sharp, seconded Andrew Zelnik

3.    Matters arising out of these minutes

Andrew Zelnik advised that following amendments to clauses 34 and 35 to the FOG constitution at the 2015 AGM, a new application for FOG to become a Registered Environmental Organisation was successfully submitted in June 2015. The process usually takes around 12 months, with a response expected after June 2016. If approved, this will allow FOG to accept tax deductible donations in the form of property, physical objects or money.  

4.    Presidentís report

The Presidentís written report had been available to committee members on the Dropbox and was tabled.

Sarah spoke of her pride in being part of an organisation that has such a strong reputation as a leader in advocacy and conservation of our grassy ecosystems in the Southern Tablelands. FOG undertakes a range of activities to achieve its aims, including advocacy, education, site visits, on-ground work, and support and promotion of other organisations with similar interests. This is achieved through dedicated work and liaison by the committee and others.

Highlights of the year included:

a.    Forum proceedings - a great conclusion to the forum itself, and an opportunity for the amazing things we heard about and saw being further promoted and available.

b.    The completion of Woodland Flora; with thanks to fellow authors, to Rosemary Purdie, Ian Charles, Ian Fraser and those amazing photographers. And to Elect Printers who printed it in several days after the demise of Paragon Printers.

c.    Expanding on earlier networks with Indigenous community, with the partnership with MCG and Buru Ngunawal Aboriginal Corporation.

d.    Ongoing excellent relationship with NCA and Yarralumla residents to continue with the huge job of clearing woody weeds, herbaceous weeds, planting and advocacy.

e.    Maintenance of membership numbers - have been around 200 for some years, with a small increase in 2015. Many thanks to Marg Ning who perseveres to chase up slow renewals.

f.    Continuation of work at Cooma Common through a grant that Marg Ning prepared and manages.

For the future, Sarah described the ongoing role of FOG as:

a.    Continuing to influence decisions in order to achieve our vision, for recognition and protection of grassy ecosystem values and function.

b.    Working closely with a strong network of similar minded people, particularly an encouragement and facilitation of integration of Indigenous values and management.

c.    Providing opportunities for members of FOG to become more skilled and knowledgeable about grassy ecosystems, their management and protection.

d.    Adapting to change, whether it is organisational, knowledge-based or taking new opportunities to promote and achieve our aims.

Sarah thanked everyone for their support over the past 3 years while president of FOG, in particular the committee members for support and initiatives:

a.    Naarilla Hirsch and the rest of the advocacy team for continued consistent advocacy, particularly Naarilla for maintaining an impressive organisational role.

b.    David Crawford, Ann Milligan, Margaret Ning, Paul Archer for really boosting the activities organised by FOG for members and others.

c.    Fantastic job by Leon Pietsch as the treasurer - attention to detail and keeping on top of things

d.    Newsletter: Ann Milligan: excellence in communication.

Also to those not on the committee that take various significant roles:

e.    Richard Bomford who manages the website, and indeed pays the website costs, as a very generous donation to FOG.

f.    Isobel Crawford who has managed the memberships for the past year. She will be standing down from this, and her contribution is much appreciated.

g.    Linda Spinaze who organises the monitoring at Scottsdale each year.

h.    Jamie Pittock who is the project officer for the work undertaken at the NCA sites, Yarramundi and Stirling Park.

Sarah confirmed that she will remain on the committee and continue to support the organisation to achieve its aims.

Report accepted: moved Andrew Zelnik, seconded Isobel Crawford.

Geoff Robertson moved a vote of thanks to Sarah for her work as President of FOG. This has been an all-consuming task that she has pursued with passion and commitment. She has done a fantastic job.

Seconded Andrew Zelnik, unanimously accepted.

5.    Treasurer's Report

In Leon Pietschís absence Sarah commented on the Treasurerís report which had been available to members on the Dropbox and was tabled. In summary, FOG remains in a healthy financial state with the value of Ďuncommittedí funds being $24,522.

Report accepted - moved Sarah Sharp, seconded Steven Horne.

6.    Reports from Groups and Projects

These reports had been available to committee members on the Dropbox and were tabled.

7.    Annual elections

Appointment of Returning Officer

Andrew Russell was appointed Returning Officer, declared all committee positions vacant and called for nominations.

a.    Election of FOG President, Vice Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer and Committee. There were no nominations for the position of President.

b.    Ann Milligan accepted nomination as Vice-President and was elected (moved Andrew Zelnik, seconded Janet Russell. Kim Pullen accepted nomination as Vice-President and was elected (moved Margaret Ning, seconded Rosemary Blemings).

c.    John Fitz Gerald was nominated as Secretary and he was elected (moved Ann Milligan, seconded Sarah Sharp). John consented to nomination by writing to the President ahead of time.

d.    Leon Pietsch was nominated as Treasurer and he was elected (moved Sarah Sharp, seconded Andrew Zelnik). Leon consented to nomination by writing to the President ahead of time.

e.    The following FOG members were nominated as Committee members, either by acceptance from the floor of the meeting or by having consented to nomination by writing to the President ahead of time:  Sarah Sharp, Margaret Ning, Andrew Zelnik, Naarilla Hirsch, Kat Ng, Tony Lawson, Paul Archer, David Crawford, Ross Dennis, Barbara Payne and Geoff Robertson. All were duly declared elected since FOG Rules allow for up to eleven ordinary members to sit on the Committee.

8.    Appointment of Public Officer

Andy Russell was nominated and approved for appointment as Public Officer

9.    Other Motions with notice.

No other motions had been received.

The Meeting closed at 19:07