Hi all, As members will be aware, in 2012, Wikimedia Australia committed to a project with the University of Queensland (UQ) and Australian Paralympic Committee (APC). In February 2013, the three entities applied for an Australian Research Council linkage grant, which was successful. The conditions of the grant required Wikimedia Australia to put up $140,000 and provide "in kind" support. As at the end of the 2012-2013 term in November 2013, however, no contracts had been signed, as is noted in the President Craig Frankin's report at the 2013 AGM.
The linkage grant has been a matter which has occupied a considerable amount of the 2013-14 committee's deliberations since it was elected. In early December, I met with UQ and APC representatives in Sydney to gain an understanding of what was involved in the project. To some extent it became clear at this stage that Wikimedia Australia was not in a position to offer "in kind" support simply because it is an all-volunteer committee with no professional staff. The committee then sought feedback from the Wikimedia Foundation's grantmaking staff and was advised on 9 January that the project had a poor match between value/impact and the money being spent, and WMF would not fund it. Furthermore, we were advised that if we were to proceed with funding using our reserve, which came from funds previously provided to WMAU through the annual fundraiser in 2010, that requests for funding in the future may be looked upon dimly. This was critical given that the project requires $140,000 in commitments yet the organisation has $85,000 in funds. Committee members are required to exercise a duty of care and diligence under s84 of the Associations Incorporations Reform Act 2012 under which we are governed, and under subsection (2)(d) must rationally believe the judgment they exercise is in the best interests of the association. The position we had been left in was untenable. On 25 January 2014, and after taking advice, the committee passed a resolution as follows: *"Following the feedback received from Wikimedia Foundation grantmaking staff with regards to the UQ sports history linkage project, the committee vacates the previously passed resolution committing Wikimedia Australia to $28,715 for the first year, as the organisation is unable to guarantee future financial support."* This was followed by a lengthy voice discussion at Wikimedia Australia's January committee meeting later the same day, where all seven members of the committee were in agreement. On 12 February, I drafted a letter summarising the above which was given to representatives from UQ and the APC at a face-to-face meeting in Melbourne, which concluded our financial involvement in the project. Wikimedia Australia has made it clear to UQ and APC, however, that we still support the aims of the project and will do what we can to assist including helping to run workshops for Wikipedia editing. The first one of these takes place next weekend in Melbourne. It has been a very difficult situation for us to resolve, but the resolution now frees us up to do some quality work in future years with our funds and volunteers. Wikimedia Australia's purpose is to fulfil our Statement of Purpose, as well as to further Wikimedia Foundation's strategic priorities within Australia, and we also want to engage our members and supporters to participate actively in these. I would welcome any questions regarding this matter either to myself personally, or to the committee as a whole. Regards, -- Steven Zhang President - Wikimedia Australia steven.zh...@wikimedia.org.au
_______________________________________________ Wikimediaau-l mailing list Wikimediaauemail@example.com https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimediaau-l