From the National Treasurer: Heather Lonsdale

This year has seen a new budget-setting process and strong collaboration.

It has been a very enjoyable year as Treasurer, in large part due to the collaboration with others who have been working hard to improve our processes. I am grateful to my fellow office bearers, Australian Greens staff, state and territory treasurers, National Councillors and in particular the Governance and Finance Committee, who have all worked alongside me and made the year both productive and enjoyable.

Budget vs Actual

The initial Australian Greens (AG) operating budget for the 2020-2021 financial year anticipated a very slim surplus of $3,319. The budget was set when there was still uncertainty about the level of Member Body contributions to the budget, following challenges experienced by NSW that affected their contribution in the 2019-2020 financial year. When the figure was known, with NSW able to commit the amount calculated by the funding formula, the budget was revised to take into account this income but without additional associated spending, which gave an anticipated surplus of $197,789. The final result for the 2020-2021 financial year ended up being even higher, with a surplus of $288,793. Areas of income that were higher than budgeted included appeals, regular giving, and major donations, testament to the hard work of the national Engagement team. The managed investments of the Australian Greens also led to higher than anticipated income due to volatility in our favour. Some expenses that were under budget were in communications and systems, due to work being delayed or not yet underway.

New budget-setting process

When setting the 2021-2022 budget, the Australian Greens undertook a new budget-setting process as part of the budget and funding model review undertaken by the Governance and Finance Committee. This consisted of two introductory budget workshops, and then individual surveys to members in key roles to gauge their impressions of the Australian Greens operating budget and input in specific operational areas. These surveys helped to inform Member Body workshops, which were held with seven out of the eight Member Bodies (the workshop with Tasmania was cancelled due to the Tasmanian election) with a total of 50 participants.

The Member Body workshops provided a forum for rich discussion with a range of people involved in various elements of The Greens. The budget was analysed across each of the operational areas, and propositions for change were introduced. There were 12 new projects proposed for 2021-2022, two savings measures proposed, 10 workplan changes identified, and 14 ideas raised for future or other processes. These ideas were then presented and considered at both a summary workshop open to all Member Bodies, and at May National Council, and a straw poll was undertaken to gauge the relative importance placed on each of the changes.

It was identified that training and data management were key areas that were important to increase capacity in, and National Council approved the creation of new roles in these areas. When the 2020-2021 financial year ended up having a surplus that was higher than budgeted, these additional funds were transferred into the Operational Projects Reserve to contribute towards these areas also as a result of them being identified as a priority.

The new budget-setting process received very positive feedback, and there was support for doing a similarly comprehensive process following a federal election, with a more streamlined process to be undertaken in other years. The Governance and Finance Committee have been discussing how to integrate the budget process with the post-election strategic planning process.

Committees and collaboration

The Governance and Finance Committee increased the frequency of its meetings to twice a month, to undertake the work of the budget and funding model review, with the latter part still underway. Thank you to Anne Picot, James Ross, Duncan Forster, Ella Webb, Nick McKim, Dominic Wy Kanak, Brett Constable, Jess McColl, Catherine Garner, Josh Wyndham-Kidd, Sue Etheridge, Jonathan Parry and Gemmia Burden for your involvement in this committee.

The group of state and territory treasurers continue to meet monthly, and it is a great chance for collaboration and collegiality. It has been great to again have Sue Etheridge as Deputy Treasurer in addition to her role as Queensland Treasurer, as she has been able to give both a national and state-based perspective on issues.

I would like to express my great thanks to Brett Constable, whose hard work is invaluable across all of the party but in particular underpins much of the Treasurer role. I would also like to thank the rest of my fellow office bearers; we are a close-knit team who work very well together. I am very fortunate to work with excellent people across the party, both staff members and volunteers, and this past year has been a great example of what we can achieve collaboratively.


‹ Greens 2021 Annual Reports