Maria Brown-Shepherd, President of the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District Inc., Regd. No A6321, delivers the Annual Report for year 2014 on 25 September, 2014.
Through this period the Board maintained its oversight ofthe Councils Financial and overall performance to ensure our financial viability and to maintain the excellent reputation we enjoy with all funding bodies.
It is a source of pride that the organisation has never received an adverse report from any funding body or grants program.
The Board will continue to strive to maintain our status through intensive monitoring of all aspects of performance but particularly financial at each monthly Board meeting. I commend the effort of Board members for their contribution to the effective operation of the Board and acknowledge the valued efforts of those who may not be continuing and look forward to the team work of those seeking re-election.
An example of the Boards collective strategic thinking occurred during the year and relates to the loan situation in respect of our office. When presented with an opportunity for a small level of discretionary funding by the Manager with various options for expenditure the Board unanimously adopted to reduce the outstanding loan applicable to the office. That result is reflected in the Balance sheet contained in your audited financial statements.
The Board maintains an excellent working relationship within the Board and externally with the Manager Chris Hazelman and his staff who are responsive to Board needs and provide information and support as requested.
In my view the Ethnic Council President needs to be involved in complimentary activity away from the Ethnic Council and to this end I accepted membership of the Advisory Committee at Harmony Village, participate in Goulburn Valley Health’s Cultural Diversity Committee which oversights the Health Service Cultural Diversity Plan and advices the Health Board on multicultural issues. Mid-year I was approached to join the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia’s Rural and Regional Advisory Committee which meets via teleconference however in October will meet in person in Sydney.
I have represented the Ethnic Council at the annual GOTAFE graduation ceremony and presented the award sponsored by the Ethnic Council and recently represented the Ethnic Council to welcome and escort the Victorian Governor Alex Chernov and Mrs Chernov on a visit to Shepparton and tour of the St Georges Road shopping precinct.
Each year some component of the Board will change and a new member will step up to assume a role and perform to the best oftheir abilities. Last year saw the retirement of Jim Pascal who as Treasurer had worked with the manager to implement management and monitoring processes to enable the Board to more effectively perform its fiduciary duties. This year Abbas Ali – a young Afghan graduate accountant with Stubbs Wallace – took up the role and has performed a splendid job working with the Manager on our financial reporting.
This year I have introduced an additional level of Board accountability by inserting a record in each Agenda and Minutes reporting the attendance status of Board members. I appreciate that all Board Members are busy and have a range of other commitments however it is appropriate to report on Board performance in many areas.
Noteworthy initiatives from the last 12 months I specifically wish to comment on include, Establishment of honour boards and commemorative photographs of Council Presidents in the Reception Area along with a group photo of the Board and opening plaque. Recognition of our history is important and I thank Chris, Rhonda and Attilio for completing this project.
Improved relationships with our indigenous community. The move to change Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act resulted in the Board directing the Manager to prepare a submission opposing any change. This submission took the form of the Manager facilitating a joint letter signed by a diverse range of local agencies and indigenous organisations. This relationship flowed on to a joint seminar run by Reconciliation Victoria and Greater Shepparton Council to which we and other multicultural groups participated and in August. At the request of the local indigenous community the Manager represented the Council in making a presentation to the Senate Select Committee looking at indigenous recognition in the constitution.
These are developments that enhance the status and profile of the Council and should be encouraged.
I encourage all members to maintain the objectives of the Council and to remain a viable organisation providing advocacy and specific services for multicultural people.
Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District Inc., Regd. No A6321
25 September, 2014