CFA and Brigades Donations Trust Fund
Under Division 30 of the Income Tax Assessment Act "deductible gift recipients" must maintain a gift fund for all donations. Accordingly, CFA established the CFA and Brigades Donations Trust to operate as a gift fund for CFA brigades. Seven trustees were appointed, two representing CFA and five from VFBV.
The Trust uses the Commonwealth banking system and CFA's financial management system; it requires minimal administrative support and incurs running costs of approximately $45,000 per annum, which are absorbed by CFA. The Trust has 1,065 brigades registered and received approximately $4.3 million in donations in 2007-08. All interest accrued in the Trust is redistributed to the brigades, and T.V.Lant and Associates is appointed as the external auditor of the Trust.
Legal Protection for Volunteers
The project identifies and implements processes to ensure brigades are not adversely impacted by the transition to operate under CFA's Australian Business Number (ABN). This transition is being undertaken in order to protect volunteers from any legal ramifications, and improve financial management accountabilities and transparency for CFA. Approximately 95 per cent of CFA brigades now operate under CFA's ABN.
Brigade Financial Management
The Victorian Auditor-General has recommended that CFA and all brigade financial activities, including assets, are consolidated within the CFA's overall financial reporting structure and accountability framework. In response to this recommendation, CFA worked with stakeholders to develop appropriate ways to achieve compliance with minimal disruption and adverse consequences on brigades.
This project has now concluded. All brigade cash balances and plant and equipment assets are now consolidated into CFA's Balance Sheet. Cash balances have been obtained from all brigades and groups of brigades enabling consolidation at financial year end. Amendments to CFA's Regulations to support brigade financial management are currently being progressed.
CFA also supports its brigades financially by making available short-term credit for asset acquisitions and replacements, on interest-free terms.
Records Management Project
A significant project is well underway to implement a dedicated Records Management system across all CFA areas and business units. The project is nearing completion with a pilot being successfully run and user acceptance testing completed. A scheduled rollout has been developed in consultation with CFA areas.
Awareness sessions for senior management, finance and business managers were organised, and in-depth awareness sessions held for all administrative staff across CFA.
Major Insurance Claim
As a consequence of a heavy downpour in December 2007, 60 staff had to be relocated from one of the Headquarters office buildings in Burwood East. Temporary accommodation was arranged, following which partitions and carpet were removed to allow rectification works to be facilitated. Reinstatement was completed within 30 days.