Minutes of the inaugural meeting of the Australian Naturalists Network Interim Steering Committee which was held on Saturday 13 April 2013, by teleconference and in FNCV Hall, 1 Gardenia St, Blackburn, Victoria, commencing at 11.00am
1. Opening and Welcome
Meeting convenor John Gregurke opened the meeting and welcomed those present (in person or by teleconference link).
2. Attendance and apologies
Present: Laurie Barrand* (NT Nats Club), Joan Broadberry (FNCV), Eddie Dell (WA Nats Club), Joy Dell (WA Nats Club), Russell Green (FNCV), John Gregurke (FNC Ballarat), Geraldine Harris (Castlemaine FNC), John Harris (FNCV), Ros Hart* (WA Nats Club), Helen Langley (Timboon FNC), Diana Primrose (Geelong FNC), Phil Rayment (Latrobe Valley FNC), Denis Thurgood (FNC Ballarat) (* via link)
Apologies: Ray Wall (Ringwood FNC), Toodyay Nats Club, Jane Cleary (Bendigo FNC), Robert Lehman (Field Naturalists Association Canberra), Genevieve Gates (Tasmanian FNC), Margaret Larke and Marilyn Honeybun (WA Naturalists Club).
3. General Business
3.1 Chairperson and Secretary for this meeting.
Helen Langley agreed to take the chair for this meeting, with Phil Rayment as interim secretary.
3.2 Establishment of the Australian Naturalists Network Interim Steering Committee
Motion: That the Australian Naturalists Network Interim Steering Committee (ANN ISC) be established as a sub-committee of the South East Australian Naturalists Association Inc.
– moved John Gregurke, seconded Eddie Dell and carried.
It was noted in discussion that the main advantage of this arrangement is to achieve the protection of individuals offered by being part of an incorporated body.
3.3 Statement of Purposes of ANN
A draft Statement of Purposes prepared by John Gregurke and based on the SEANA Constitution was discussed. Following a reordering and a small rewording, the following motion was put.
Motion: That the following Statement of Purposes be approved for consideration by member clubs and at a general meeting to be held during the ANN 2014 Get-Together in Hobart:
The purposes of the Australian Naturalists Network are:
i To increase knowledge of, and encourage the preservation and protection of the natural environment.
ii To foster and promote communication and cooperation between Field Naturalists Clubs and other natural history groups from all states and territories of Australia.
iii To initiate and encourage member clubs to host biennial Get-togethers which further the appreciation and study of natural history.
iv Maintain and publish a register of Field Naturalists Clubs and other natural history groups from all states and territories of Australia.
v To support and promote conservation issues, advocating well-researched strategies.
vi To be acknowledged as a responsible apolitical voice on environmental matters.
vii To encourage the establishment of new natural history clubs.
viii To provide and disseminate natural environment information, at whatever level required, in pursuit of the above items.
– moved Eddie Dell, seconded Laurie Barrand and carried.
3.4 Should ANN become a legal entity?
It was noted that the general meeting of participants at the ANN 2012 Get-Together in Canberra had adopted the following motion: “That this meeting is in favour of steps being taken that may lead to the establishment of ANN as a legal entity.”
Canberra Discussion: It was generally agreed that this motion provides for an investigation of the pros and cons of incorporation, whether in a single state/ territory or nationally.
- The main benefit of incorporation is that members and office bearers are protected against personal liability for the organisation’s debts and other legal obligations.
- Incorporation in a state restricts the organisation to its home jurisdiction; but may be registered under the Corporation Act so it can carry on business in other states. Extra fees apply.
- Victorian incorporation laws require an Annual General Meeting and reporting of annual financial statements to Consumer Affairs Victoria. This is impossible/difficult for an organisation which only meets every second year at ANN Get-Togethers.
- Fees apply to establish an incorporated entity and annual fees are payable.
That the matter of incorporation be held over for future further consideration, watching for any changes in relevant legislation including at the federal level, and that in the meantime a subcommittee be established to investigate the issues and costs associated with incorporation under current legislation.
– moved Denis Thurgood, seconded Eddie Dell and carried.
It was agreed that the members of this subcommittee be Russell Green, John Gregurke and Phil Rayment.
With regard to the legal liability associated with future Get-Togethers, it was agreed that the host club should be seen as the body organising the event and must both (i) be itself incorporated and
(ii) ensure that the event is covered by appropriate public liability insurance.
3.5 Are rules or a constitution required for ANN?
It was agreed that this matter should be held in abeyance for now, noting that an unincorporated ANN could have simplified rules by comparison with the model rules for an incorporated body.
Motion: That ANN membership is open to natural history groups across Australia, subject to approval by the ISC/ future ANN management committee; individuals applying to attend a Get-Together should be members of a member group or of their state or regional association.
– moved Phil Rayment, seconded John Harris and carried.
It was noted that it is important to make provision for folk remote from a group or former members of a defunct group to participate, and to ensure that they are covered by insurance.
John Gregurke reported as follows:
- At present there is an ANN section on the SEANA website (http://home.vicnet.net.au/~seana/).
- Information that may be included – Contact information, Register of ANN clubs, Future Events, Get-Together reports, History of ANN, Statement of Purposes and Rules,
It was agreed that an easily located, conveniently maintained ANN website is essential, and John Gregurke suggested that a low-cost solution meeting these requirements is afforded by a new platform based on WordPress blogsite software.
Motion: That John Gregurke be appointed interim Web-master with a brief to establish a new ANN site, with funding support as required from the ANN Camp Account.
– moved Eddie Dell, seconded Diana Primrose and carried.
3.7 Future ANN Get-Together hosts
2014: The Get-Together will be held in Hobart, 18-26 October 2014, hosted by the Tasmanian FNC. Simon Grove had provided an invitation and briefing during the dinner at the 2012 Get-Together.
The accommodation will be available from pm Friday 17th through to am Monday 27th, but with no activities on those end-dates.
2016: Roz Hart and Eddie Dell advised of a tentative offer from the WA Naturalists Club to host a Spring 2016 Get-Together in WA; a subcommittee has been established to pursue this further.
3.8 Structure of ANN ISC
It was agreed that office bearers should include a chairperson, secretary, Get-Together coordinator and web-master.
Interim appointments were agreed for the period up to and including the next ISC meeting of Chair – Russell Green, Secretary – Phil Rayment, Web-master – John Gregurke (as noted above).
It was agreed that the role of Get-Together coordinator would for the present be an overall committee responsibility. The number of committee members would be left open at present, to encourage nation-wide involvement.
3.9 ANN Bank Account
John Gregurke and Denis Thurgood (SEANA Treasurer) reported on current arrangements:
- Name of Account: South East Australian Naturalists Association Incorporated ANN Camp Account. Held at CBA, Bendigo Branch (Signatories are four committee members of SEANA), Present Balance: $5237.43, held in a non interest-bearing account.
- This arrangement was decided at a meeting held during the 2006 ANN Get-Together.
- SEANA has offered to continue this arrangement.
Motion: That the current arrangements for the ANN Bank Account continue, but with the SEANA Treasurer requested to seek to place $4000 in the CBA’s best short-term interest rate Term Deposit; further, that the committee approves payment of expenses for this meeting and for preparation of the updated ANN Register.
– moved Eddie Dell, seconded Geraldine Harris and carried.
It was agreed that a donation of $30 be made to FNC Victoria for use of its facilities for this meeting.
3.10 ANN Register of Natural History Groups:
John Gregurke reported on progress to date with updating the register which will be made available to all groups in printed form and electronically via the website or other alternatives. The mailout of the notice re the ANN ISC inaugural meeting contained a request for updated information. Some new groups have been identified for inclusion.
3.11 Other business
3.11.1 Reporting from ISC meetings
It was agreed that the minutes of this meeting should be e-mailed to all ISC members (including apologies) and later hard-copy mailed to all ANN member clubs along with the new Register.
3.11.2 Functionality of the teleconference link
The remote participants indicated that the link had operated satisfactorily.
4. Future Meetings:
It was agreed that the next meeting of the ISC be scheduled for March 2014, to be held at FNCV Hall, Blackburn with teleconference availability.