Calls to wind up Gladstone Foundation as funds near empty
A FOUNDATION that once boasted a $13.5 million balance is dwindling to zero and mayor Matt Burnett wants to expedite the process.
The Gladstone Foundation - a perpetual trust established by the Queensland Government in February 2011 to manage and allocate industry contributions to benefit the community is reaching the end of its life.
The Foundation took off in June 2012 when Australia Pacific LNG and Queensland Curtis LNG each provided $5m with GLNG providing $3.5m - the first and only fund injections.
The trust deed stipulates allocated funds must be for projects benefiting the Gladstone region and the chairperson must reside outside the region.
The trust is administered by Public Trustee of Queensland and the board, which Cr Burnett sits on as mayor, is chaired by Tim Griffin OAM.
Since the foundation's initial cash injection, money has been released in yearly intervals with funding up to Round 7.
The fund had a balance of $1.35m following Round 6.
Round 6 included $500,000 to the Gladstone RSL Sub Branch Inc to help construct the Gladstone Anzac Memorial Bowls and Citizens Club renovation project.
Inaugural projects included $2.4m for Anglicare Central Queensland Ltd for its 'Stronger Futures Gladstone Residential Care Program' and $2.2m for Medibank Health Solutions Telehealth Pty Ltd for its 'Online Allied Healthcare Delivery for the Gladstone region'.
Gladstone Community Linking Agency Inc, Gladstone Men's Shed Association Inc, Roseberry Community Services Limited and Churches of Christ in Queensland's Shed 19 program are just a small handful of other projects funded either in full or part thereof by the Gladstone Foundation.
At Tuesday's council meeting it was decided council would continue its representation on the Gladstone Foundation board, but added an amendment advocating for the full distribution of remaining funds.
"The quicker we can get it out the better," Cr Burnett said.
Due to the initial guidelines in setting up the trust, current deputy mayor Chris Trevor - then Flynn MP - expressed concern the Foundation hadn't distributed funds in a timely manner during its initial years.
"My preference at the time was to have the money allocated to the relevant local authorities who were directly impacted by the LNG footprint," Cr Trevor said at council.
"Unfortunately, through no fault of the board, there hasn't been timely deliverance."
Cr Burnett said the money would have been "well and truly gone" if it was distributed locally.
"It's been set up in such a difficult way that a lot of groups don't qualify because they aren't a registered charity," he said.
Cr Burnett suggested any leftover money following Round 7 could be transferred into another trust fund administered closer to home.
"They should donate it to the Gladstone & District Sports Foundation which goes to supporting local sports," he said.
The Gladstone & District Sports Foundation was established by former Gladstone City mayor, the late Col Brown, in 1987.
Mr Griffin said Round 7 applications, which closed last Friday, would be short-listed in the new year.
He said it was difficult to speculate on the Foundation's post-Round 7 balance until that time.