Maria Brown-Shepherd, President of the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District Inc., Regd. No A6321, delivers the Annual Report for year 2012 on 27 September, 2012.
It has been a privilege to have been your President and I look forward to the challenges of guiding the Council in its next phase of growth and development.
The last year has seen a further increase in the levels of accountability and scrutiny applied by our funding bodies and while this will be covered by other reports it is a significant issue which provides an ongoing challenge for the Board.
It is the Board’s role to establish the Councils strategic direction and over the last twelve months led by the Finance Business and Audit Committee the Council has developed a Strategic Plan to guide the organisation over the immediate future.
The Finance Business and Audit Committee worked very hard to produce a working budget and the framework for our strategic planning document. These have been substantial bodies of work which positions the Council to more effectively and efficiently plan the use of its resources, provide appropriate services and meet our statutory reporting requirements.
The Council’s work load is increasing under pressure from the secondary migration that makes Shepparton the leading Victorian destination point for new arrivals. The strain on our resources and capacity to deliver appropriate services within the funding parameters is both real and limits our ability to be ?exible and possibly prevents our provision of services deemed necessary by our members.
This is an annual tension made even more difficult each year by the grant conditions imposed by the funding bodies. On occasions we have been unable to provide support or assistance to members because the function fell outside our funding criteria. The Board is concerned by the perceived anomaly created by funding guidelines and will work with the membership around the priority areas identified in the Strategic Plan to align the Council’s operational activities more closely to the members aspirations.
Of concern to your Board is our struggle to make the Community Meetings relevant to the members and we will undertake consultative processes with the membership to determine the form and function of meetings that meet the needs of members.
I have taken on roles away from the Council in order to build my experience and networks and also to promote the work and role of the Council. I was appointed to Goulburn Valley Health’s Cultural Diversity Committee which has oversight of the Authority’s Cultural Diversity Plan and provides advice to the Goulburn Valley Health Board on cultural issues. Recently I commenced a short course on preparing for Interpreter Training both to improve my skills and to market and promote the work of the Ethnic Council. I have joined the Advisory Committee at Harmony Village and participated in the annual graduation ceremony for Goulburn Ovens TAFE where the Ethnic Council sponsors an award.
It would be my intention to continue these activities and look to further opportunities where I can expand the profile and involvement of the Council.
I wish to recognise the enormous contribution made by my fellow Board members, the Manager and his staff and the Membership in the successful operation of the Ethnic Council and I look forward to my continued participation in our events and activities.
Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District Inc., Regd. No A6321
27 September, 2012