The generosity of our supporters has never been more evident than in the record revenue of $64 million achieved this financial year. We acknowledge and are extremely grateful for the trust our supporters place in Bush Heritage, enabling us to continue with the important work of protecting our natural environment.
The record revenue in 2021-2022 is more than double any previous year, made possible due to a large increase in bequests, contributing to a record net surplus of $36 million.
We have utilised part of this increased revenue in the current year with increased conservation management activities, repayment of the remaining $1.1 million bank loan and the purchase of new properties, while the majority of the increased bequest income is being transferred to the Bush Heritage Capital Fund from where it will help fund further growth and impact opportunities.
These transfers were still in progress on 31 March 2022, resulting in higher than usual cash and shareholdings at financial year-end.
We increased funds applied to our on-ground conservation management activities by $5 million to $19 million in 2021-2022, which represented 67% of our total operating expenditure, an increase from 62% in the prior year.
This increased activity included a welcome increase in our passionate and loyal volunteer workforce contributions on the ground, notwithstanding the continued effects and disruptions from COVID-19 restrictions during much of 2021-2022.
Bush Heritage acquired five new properties during the year: Buckrabanyule, Ngulambarra and John Douglas, all on Dja Dja Wurrung country in Victoria; Glovers Flat, neighbouring Oura Oura on Palawa country in Tasmania; and Ediegarrup, connecting to our existing Red Moort Reserve on Noongar country in Western Australia.
Bush Heritage is in a very strong financial position, which sets an ideal base to pursue the key priorities in our recently approved 2030 Strategy. This strategy seeks to deepen and double Bush Heritage’s impact by 2030 through its three impact models: the Bush Heritage reserve system; our Aboriginal partnerships and enhancing natural capital in agriculture.
Nicholas Burton Taylor, Treasurer
Mark Dwyer, Chief Financial Officer