Chairs Report: John Bethel

The 2010-11 financial year has been another challenging but rewarding year for the company. All staff continue to deliver above expectations and our support remains very strong with our membership which is a testament to the outcomes delivered by the company.

GhostNets Australia has once again been the recipient of a prestigious award to add to the ever growing list of awards this now internationally recognised organisation has received. This year's award was the 2010 United Nations Environmental Award for excellence in Marine and Coastal Management which sits nicely with the natural progression the GhostNets Australia team have embarked upon to deal with this wicked problem. It seems like just yesterday that this ground-breaking organisation was taking its first fledgling steps under the NGRMG wing.

This past year has been one of high drama for many of our stakeholder organisations with calamitous events affecting most communities across our region. First we had a visit from Cyclone Yasi which brought significant structural damage to a swath of country in the south-east of the Northern Gulf region. This was on top of a huge wet season which affected all of Queensland and caused significant damage to property and shire infrastructure in our region. The wet season was one of the longest on record and as a consequence many primary industries found it difficult, if not impossible, to market their produce for most of the wet season in this region.

The grazing industry in Northern Australia was the worst affected as it was all but impossible to muster and move livestock until well into the year and just as things were starting to improve, came the live export ban which killed the industry stone dead at the worst possible time. We now have one of our most significant stakeholder groups in very difficult financial circumstances which have long term implications for this industry and our region. We have been working very closely with all levels of government and the banks to try to find a way forward for this foundation industry which is the glue that holds almost all regional communities in Northern Australia together. Our staff continues to provide essential extension services which will be vital in recovering this industry and improving the emotional wellbeing of the people.

This past year has seen NGRMG review our company structure and resolve to move to a three tier structure that reflects the evolution of the company. We are no longer just a NRM group as we were when first formed. The diminishing of our government funding stream has necessitated the change to better deliver our communities plan. We are a service delivery company of which environmental works is an important component, but not our only role. Community advocacy has always been a big part of what we do and the new structure also reflects that. We are much better positioned now to adapt and the company can only move ahead under the new structure. The company is now well placed to respond to our stakeholder needs and the business arm will become a critical funding opportunity for all our community into the future.

This past year has seen the robustness of our relationship with our community and funding partners tested to the full and we have come through stronger than ever. We have brilliant staff doing an outstanding job that has earned the respect of all who work with them and their performance only enhances NGRMG's standing in our community. The upcoming Beef, Barra and Bulldust Expo in Karumba is an opportunity to showcase what our region has to offer, and gives us all a chance to reflect on past and future success across this unique part of Australia. It is a privilege to live and work in this community.

Annual Reports
Annual Report: 2010-2011
Publication date 
Thursday, 30 June, 2011