Council Minutes November 2012

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Meeting of Council of Friends of ANBG

Tuesday 13 November

1.30pm Administration Loft



  1. Attendance

Present: David Coutts (Chairman); Dennis Ayliffe; Lesley Jackman; Barbara Podger

Ex officio: Judy West (until 2.30pm); Peter Byron: Steve Speer, Anne Philips, Alan Munns.

Apologies: John Connolly; Anne Campbell: Glenys Bishop; Marion Jones; Warwick Wright.

Visitor : Elle Shepherd

  1. Confirmation of Minutes of Council meeting of 2 October 2012

Motion: That the minutes of the Council meeting of 2 October be confirmed, with the addition of some clarificatory edits from Lesley Jackman.

Proposed: Lesley Jackman, Seconded: Barbara Podger. Carried.

  1. Matters arising from Minutes of 2 October 2012

3.1  Eucalypt walk

In the absence of Anne Campbell, Alan Munns advised that the Eucalypt Walk project was expected to be near completion, to meet its mid-December deadline. David Coutts mentioned his idea for adding a sign that would inform people of the 21 Gum Salute planting at the recent ANPC conference.

Action: David Coutts to liaise with ANBG on signage and mention in the brochure for the walk.

  1. General Business

4.1  Summer Sounds

Andy Rawlinson has secured a second fridge which will greatly increase storage capacity. Planning for the concerts was well underway.  The ANBG had developed a project plan and the following arrangements were in hand:

  • two rangers were being trained for traffic management;
  • bucket collection would occur as vehicles and people entered through the gates;
  • volunteers would be needed for the wine table, and the minibus sponsored by Peter Blackshaw and Flora Explorer to transport arrivals, although only one of these vehicles would may be needed as people depart;
  • Peter Blackshaw Real Estate will continue its sponsorship and Jennifer Salkeld is also in touch with MadFish Wines in WA about sponsorship arrangements that would provide some wine for free and the rest at wholesale rates;
  • Jennifer Salkeld is also arranging 20,000 copies of a brochure for the ANBG’s summer program.

The summer concerts will continue to run on each Saturday and Sunday evening in January.  The roster, which will be larger than in previous years, will be emailed out to Friends and also publicised in the December Fronds; there would be a need for an overall coordinator for each evening as well as a coordinator for each activity. A briefing for the coordinators will be held on 11 December; it will include evacuation and safety procedures and arrangements for collecting money. A donation of $5 will be requested of each car or group, with a review for the next year. This is budgeted to generate more funds than previous years.

Some funding for the summer concerts has been received from the ACT Government’s Find Thirty Every Day program. This will involve some half hour guided walks, dancing in the intervals, and a family hub with children’s activities. It has to be decided whether the Friends’ children’s table is part of this or an extra.

The band program has also been arranged.  Barbara Podger recommended that the payment to the bands be increased from $450 last year to $600 this year.  The sound man will work for the same fee as last year, including a second set of sound speakers (as provided last year) in his price. There won’t be a payment to the people leading the dancing at the intervals, as funding has been received for this, although this may be needed in future years.

Floresco will be responsible for food, operating with price caps, and will provide a separate coffee cart. There may also be a separate ice cream provider or Floresco will sell paddle pops.


  • the ANBG and Friends will assess the effectiveness of these arrangements following the summer concerts;
  • a broadcast email calling for volunteers will be sent out early in the week beginning 26 November. There will also be an advertisement in Fronds;
  • Barbara Podger will send an email out to request coordinators; and
  • the briefing will be held on 11 December.

Council agreed to increase the band payments to $600.

4.2  Projects

The Projects Committee submitted two proposals for Friends’ funding involving equipment for the Seed Bank and updating and reviving the Aboriginal Plant Use Trail. Council discussed these and overall management of the budget for Friends’ projects in light of the substantial RCG project:

Managing the budget for Friends’ projects - the Council discussed management of the budget for Friends’ projects. Although the reserves are large, at approximately $390,000 at the AGM, the RCG would involve a substantial call on them. Implementing a more structured approach to managing project proposals would involve keeping a running tab of commitments during each financial year so that the Projects Committee and the Council could have a clearer understanding of the available funds when assessing proposals. 

Seed Bank equipment – the Projects Committee had recommended two items for funding - a Zig Zag aspirator/separator ($20,052), a set of Sartorius scientific scales ($2800). The Committee also discussed a vacuum bag sealer ($2600-6100) but felt approval should await further advice from management on the preferred machine.

Aboriginal Plant Use Trail – following the Project Committee meeting the ANBG had revised its signage proposal down from $20,000 to $14,965 involving 27 signs and also identified which plants would have a post or a low stake, concluding that more could have the cheaper stake option than previously thought. This revised figure did not include a brochure, which ANBG would sponsor while acknowledging the Friends’ contribution to other aspects of the project.

The ANBG also provided an update on the water bubbler project. The ANBG plumber was being consulted and the new bubbler would be ordered soon. It should be installed by the summer close to the site of the existing bubbler.

Council agreed:

(a) to fund the Zigzag aspirator/separator and the Sartorius scales.

(b) to ask the Public Fund to consider funding for the above seedbank equipment; and

(c) to fund the signage for the Aboriginal Plant Use Trail.

(d) Not to approve any additional project proposals until the guidelines for project funding are reviewed.

Action: the President, Treasurer and head of the Projects Committee would meet to discuss this before the next Council meeting.

4.3  ANPC conference

David Coutts attended and presented a paper at the ANPC conference on the role of NGOs in science. Kristiane Hermann also provided significant secretariat support.

Action: David would finalise his paper for possible publication in the ANPC magazine and on the Friends website. He would also provide some photographs from the conference for the Friends’ website.

4.4  Gift policy and purchased painting

Lesley Jackman, in consultation with Lynden Ayliffe, had revised the draft paper on the gift policy to reflect the discussion at the previous Council meeting. The Council approved the paper with the proviso that Council would ‘indicate’ rather than ‘allocate’ a budget, as stated in the version of the paper presented to Council. The expectation was that the budget for purchases could be as high as $1000 to $1200 pa. The paper was considered to provide a set of guidelines that could be applied flexibly. The process for 2013 would begin with the Photographic Group’s contribution to the ANBG’s Friends and Family in the Gardens exhibition (January to March 2013), and the later BAG exhibition.

Action: Lesley to get the process underway for 2013.

4.5   Schools Photographic exhibition

The exhibition had gone well and was still hanging in the VIC at the time of the Council meeting. The judge had provided feedback to any individual students who sought it and also had some ideas for the future. David Coutts recommended a review be undertaken before the next exhibition gets underway, perhaps in March. Some additional people would be required in 2013 to manage the exhibition. Cecelia Melano and Janelle Chalker were ‘possibles’ for next year.

Steve Speer reported that the VIC was earmarked for a RCG exhibition at the time the Schools’ Photographic Exhibition would usually run.  The options were for the Schools’ Photographic exhibition to be mounted in the Administration Foyer at the time of the RCG exhibition with some relevant photos being exhibited in association with it or the timing to be altered to, say, early November. Any new timeframe would need to consider the school curriculum. 

Action: David Coutts to discuss the timing issue with Shirley McKeown and also consult some of the participating teachers before developing a recommendation for Council to consider.

4.6  BRC and Plant Research Group

The Council noted the paper that had been prepared on the BRC in consultation with various stakeholders, deferring a decision until Anne Campbell’s return. The Friends also asked to be consulted in an internal review being conducted by the ANBG.

4.7  Subcommittees

The President circulated contact lists for the various sub-committees and asked to be informed of any alterations.

4.8   Café

Floresco has introduced two lanes to help manage queuing at the cafe. The Council also endorsed the President’s draft response to a letter of complaint about the cafe that he had received.  This letter had also been passed onto the ANBG management.

4.9  In Flower This Week

The Council discussed the need for some new arrangements for In Flower This Week that would involve Friends rather than ANBG staff assisting Barbara Daly with this weekly update.

Action : David Coutts to pursue the projected changes with ANBG management and Barbara Daly.

  1. Reports

5.1  Executive Director

Dr Paul Smith of the Millennium Seed Bank at Kew visited the ANBG and met the department’s executive staff.  His meeting with the Minister to raise the profile of seed banking had had to be cancelled but he did have a good discussion with the Chief of Staff. Dr Smith also spoke to some departmental staff about the financial side of the Millennium Seed Bank. The Secretary and others found this very informative and informed the Minister of the discussion. Dr Smith also attended the ANPC conference and a meeting of the Australian Seed Bank Partnership, which had a good discussion about national projects.

The ANPC conference had been very successful. Although the numbers of attendees were down on previous years, the quality of the content had been very good, resulting in proposals for joint projects involving Greening Australia and the ANPC.

Dr West expressed the view that the Gardens was now more ‘on the map’ of the Minister and the Secretary. The previous week departmental SES had met at the ANBG discussing the themes of sustainability and resilience. The following day would see the launch of Australia’s Virtual Herbarium (AVH) and in the same week the managers of the various herbaria would be meeting at the ANBG. The Atlas of Living Australia, which powers the AVH, has had millions of accesses, which was very satisfying.

Dr West has also consulted some lawyers in Melbourne experienced in Foundation development.  Their advice was that since 2000 the situation is less favourable in tax terms as previously and they recommended establishing an internal fund instead of a Foundation. The Council expressed interest in discussing this further with Dr West.

5.2  General Manager

The Hellenic Club, which operates Floresco, was planning a 16 December Christmas event in its car park that would include a stall from the ANBG, similar to that done at the National Arboretum: this would be manned by ANBG staff and Friends. The plan was to include some children’s activities, pot plants, and information on ANBG and Friends. On the RCG, the artist would visit Canberra accompanied by other family members, on 28 and 29 November. The first day would include an orientation, a lunch (that could include two or three Council members), and also an opportunity to discuss use of the artwork and the surrounding material.

More generally, progress is being made with the RCG with, for example, work on pathways, sub-surfaces and transition with the nearby Sydney Garden. The palm has been planted and a Request for Tender is being developed for the viewing platform.

The consultant has also started updating the Public Art Master Plan. There will be a workshop in January/February on potential locations and themes for artworks that will involve Lynden Ayliffe and others.

A tender has been held, and now closed, for a new parking fee system. Parking fees will be increased. The ANBG would like to replace the current system with smart machines that can handle credit cards as well as cash and so enable people to use their smartphones to extend their paid parking.

Recruitment action is underway for several positions, all of which have to be approved at deputy secretary level in the department:

  • a horticultural manager;
  • a trades manager;
  • a horticultural staff member;
  • two non-ongoing staff for the nursery; and
  • weekend rangers.

5.3  Friends’ Liaison

There will be a volunteer recognition ceremony at the ANBG on 5 December. Senator Kate Lundy will present awards to volunteers to mark involvement for 25, 20, 15 and 10 years.  The ANBG will alert any awardees to ensure they are able to attend.

There will be no Christmas Carols concert this year but the Sing Australia Colours choir will perform at the Gardens on 1 December, singing music with a Christmas theme.

Over the summer there will also be:

  • three evening rainforest events involving food, wine, and music, and developed for an over-18 audience;
  • Snakes Alive;
  • Flix in the Stix and
  • Sunset Cinema over a period of six weeks on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The Human Brochure exercise went well from the point of view of ACT Tourism. There were over 30,000 applications and it is estimated that the related online activity reached 4.5 million people. Feedback indicated that some of those involved were unaware of the various national institutions located here.  It is not yet clear whether the ANBG will be involved in a similar February exercise.

5.4  Treasurer

In the absence of the Treasurer, the Council held over discussion of the need for an assistant treasurer until the next meeting.

Motion: That payments for October be accepted.

Proposed: David Coutts. Seconded: Dennis Ayliffe. Carried.

5.5  Secretary

No correspondence was lodged in the absence of the Secretary.

5.6  Public Fund

As previously noted under item 4.2, the Public Fund will be asked to consider providing financial support for the Seed Bank projects. 

5.7 Membership

The issue has been raised with the Membership Team as to whether it is necessary to provide hand written receipts out of a receipt book, keeping a hard copy. This question was raised as the Public Fund receipt books have run out. It was suggested that instead of keeping a receipt book, we either email or print out receipts using a template which could then have a sequential number added. A separate record would then be kept of all donations.  It was recommended that the Treasurer be asked to ask our accountant whether there is any legal requirement for duplicate copies of receipts to be kept.

It was also discussed whether, if we do have to mail out receipts separately, which costs us more than $1.00, we could indicate that unless requested, receipts will only sent out if the donation is more than $20.

Action: The Treasurer to discuss this with the Membership Team.

The Membership Team is also considering options for streamlining the sending of broadcast emails to the members, the majority of whom have email addresses. Les Fielke is also expected to contact David Coutts about this.

Action: Alan Munns to discuss this with David More of the Website Team. 

Arrangements were confirmed for a New Friends’ Walk taking place on 25 November, subject to numbers.

5.8  Thursday talks

The Thursday Talks copy had been provided to Fronds and the website material will be updated shortly. Lesley will meet with the ANBG to discuss arrangements for promoting the Centenary Chats to be held during 2013 and will also attend the November Guides’ meeting to try and recruit one or two new committee members. The Talks will begin early in 2013, on 31 January with Ian Warden as speaker, to launch the Centenary Chats.

5.9  Newsletter

The December issue of Fronds is expected to be out on 3 December, with the editors struggling to accommodate all the material that is related to the Centenary. The What’s On section is full with the many events on until the end of April and there are some large advertisements.

5.10  Guides

  • Discussion paper

With Glenys Bishop away, consideration of the paper she had circulated on themed guided walks was held over until the next meeting.

  • Christmas party wine

Council agreed to a request from Glenys Bishop that the Friends should supply some wine for the Guides’ Christmas party, with Glenys to advise how much would be required.

5.11  Social Events and Activities

Several events are planned for 2013:

  • the summer concerts;
  • the February dinner;
  • two Ellis Rowan tours to the NLA on 13 March;
  • a Family Garden Fair;
  • a tour of the internal gardens at Parliament House to see the autumn colours;
  • a Brindabella spring time tour with Rosemary Purdie;
  • the bush capital celebration in November.

5.12  Growing Friends

There was no report from Growing Friends’

5.13  Website

The website is working well with updates handled in a timely manner.  The AGM papers have been loaded, as have the last three sets of Council minutes, and a new item called latest News has been developed. The team will need a training session with David More on the druple software.  The next priority will be loading the calendar of events. Given the other commitments of the ANBG’s designer it may be necessary to recruit someone with relevant experience to help with the website.

5.14  Botanic Art Group

  • 2013 workshop

The BAG will hold a workshop in 2013 involving Leonie Norton, a world-renowned botanical artist. The associated costs will be met through the participation fee and the BAG expects to be able to make a contribution to the Friends. The BAG is asking for advice on the receipt of the course monies and the preferred matter of payment. 

Action: the Treasurer to follow up.

5.15  Photography group

The regular monthly meetings are attracting around 15 or 16 people.  Some contributions have been received for the ANBG Friends and Family exhibition to be held between January and March next year, with some more expected by the end of the November, the deadline for contributions. Group members are probably more comfortable photographing plants and animals than people in the Gardens, possibly due to the requirement to get written permission when photographing people in the Gardens, which may affect the number of photographs received for the event.

The Group will wrap up for the year on 30 November with its monthly meeting followed by lunch at the cafe. It is looking for a new secretary.

5.16  Date and place of next meeting

The next meeting of Council will be held on Tuesday 4 December at 1.30pm in the Dickson Room.

The meeting closed at 4pm.