The Board held its first Board meeting for calendar year 2020 on Tuesday 25 February.
This was the first meeting of the Board following the AGM in November last year.
Board Appointments and Company Secretary
Directors were confirmed in the following roles until AGM 2020:
Deputy Chair – Alex Claassens
Safety & Environment Committee Chair – Alex Claassens
Finance, Audit & Risk Committee Chair – Howard Collins with Deanna Varga
Collections & Curatorial Committee Chair – Dale Budd with Brett Fitzpatrick
Rail Operations Support Committee Chair – David Ireland
Fundraising Strategy Development Working Group Chair – Deanna Varga with Leann Meiers
The Board welcomed member, Peter Watters, to the role of Volunteer Company Secretary and extended its sincerest thanks to Brett Fitzpatrick for his contribution as Company Secretary since the establishment of THNSW in 2013 and as company secretary for the NSW RTM prior to that. You can read more about Peter in the ENews.
On behalf of the Board I was pleased to join with everyone involved on Friday 24 January’s transfer of Locomotive 3801 from Chullora to Thirlmere (you can read more and watch a video of the engine's return to Thirlmere on the 3801 project page). The Board congratulated everyone on the successful completion of the work at Chullora and the transfer operation and received an update on the project. There is still significant work being undertaken by the team at Thirlmere to complete Locomotive 3801 and return it to service. The next major milestone will be its actual return to service launch event which will take place at Central Station, details of which will be announced shortly.
The Board sincerely thanks all volunteers and staff involved in responding to the bushfire emergency during December and January. This involved the unprecedented closure of the NSW Rail Museum for 11 days and the movement of rolling stock out of Thirlmere. We were also proud to provide our water gins to assist the RFS in their efforts to contain the fires at both Buxton and later at Bundanoon and Wingello. As we know, these devastating fires continue to have a significant impact on our surrounding community beyond the actual fire period. The Board noted visitation to the NSW Rail Museum was down over 67% in December and 20% in January and will be further impacted by the postponement of this year’s Thirlmere Festival of Steam by Picton Rotary to a date yet to be determined.
AGM 2020 Planning & Board Director Nomination Criteria
The Board confirmed the date and venue for AGM 2020 as Saturday 28 November 2020 at the National Innovation Centre, South Eveleigh. The new Company Secretary will take a lead role in the planning for AGM 2020. As one of the first steps in the AGM process, the Board is reviewing the draft Board Director Nomination Criteria to be used for both the election of Elected Directors and the appointment of Non-elected Appointed Directors this year. In the same manner as last year, I expect these to be released on the THNSW website by no later than April to give interested members ample opportunity to prepare for nominating for election.
Board Workshop & Board Charter review
The Board debriefed on its Board / CEO and Senior Management Team workshop, facilitated by The Ethics Centre, held earlier in February. The purpose of the workshop was to confirm that our purpose and values are aligned to our new Strategic Plan, ahead of reviewing the Board Charter. All agreed this was a very worthwhile workshop and the Board will be looking to hold further workshops with the CEO and his Senior Management team during the year. I will be reviewing the Board Charter with the Board over the next few months.
Collection Conservation Projects
The Board considered two projects recommended by the Collections & Curatorial Committee to conserve / restore two important collection items for eventual display at our NSW Rail Museum: J & A Brown No 5 and the CHG wagon. The Board will seek funds for the NSW Government-owned CHG wagon via the Funding Stream 2 process and approved the commitment of reserve funds towards the J&A Brown No 5 project. Further planning will now be undertaken, and work will only commence once existing projects, including MAM 907 and RBX 647, have been completed.
New Whistle Blower Protection Policy
Changes under the Corporations Act require THNSW from this year to have a formal whistle blower protection policy. The Board received and provided comment on the draft policy and procedure which will now be reviewed ahead of its release by the Board’s Finance, Audit & Risk subcommittee.
AGM 2019’s Four Commitments Update
At the AGM on 30 November 2019 the Board and I made four specific commitments for the coming year.
Company Secretary – Volunteer Company Secretary recruited from our THNSW Membership ✔ Completed
Alternate AGM location – AGM 2020 will be held Saturday 28 November 2020 at the National Innovation Centre, South Eveleigh ✔ Completed
Publish Membership Numbers – quarterly here in my Chair’s Wrap Up – as at the end of December we had 1,724 current members, and as at end-February we have 1,746 current members. ✔ Commenced
Membership Renewal Process – a small project team will be brought together to focus on this after we see the Locomotive 3801 returned to service.
Members’ Information Forum
Our first members’ information forum for 2020 will be held at the NSW Rail Museum, Thirlmere, on Wednesday 11 March at 1:30pm and will include a facilitated discussion about opportunities associated with the Loop Line development. I look forward to seeing many of you there.