Despite the disruption and uncertainties created by COVID-19 in 2020-21, donors continued to strongly support the work of Bush Heritage, with total supporter contributions, bequests and grants only marginally below those of the previous year.
This confirms our supporters’ commitment to our work, even in trying times, for which we are extremely grateful. Revenues held up well during the year in most of our main streams, with just a slight drop in bequests.
In some areas, the COVID-19 pandemic hindered our ability to undertake work and resulted in lower expenditure than the previous year, however generally we were able to continue our planned conservation activities.
At the end of the financial year our cash balance was $9.8 million, $4.9 million of which came from tied donations for multi-year projects, focussed primarily on bushfire recovery.
Funds applied to our on-ground conservation management activities increased slightly from the previous financial year to 62% of our overall spending.
Bush Heritage demonstrated strong financial resilience during the challenging 2020-21 financial year. In addition to the robust surplus reported and healthy cash balance, we acquired two new properties during the year: the extension to Tarcutta Hills Reserve, Wiradjuri country in NSW, and the Round House Reserve on Taungurung country in Victoria, a generous gift from supporter Annelie Holden.
Towards the end of the financial year, we saw the departure of our long-standing CFO, Robert Pratt, who gave Bush Heritage over eight years of outstanding service. We welcome Mark Dwyer as the new CFO, who will continue to drive strong financial leadership and good governance.
We are now several months into the new 2021-22 financial year and, given our strong cash position, we have recently paid out in full the remaining $1.1 million balance of the bank loan that was taken out in 2016 to help fund the purchase of Pullen Pullen Reserve on Maiawali country in Queensland.
Bush Heritage looks forward to another successful year in 2021-22, being in a strong financial position to undertake its ongoing conservation work and to look for suitable opportunities to increase its impact.
Nicholas Burton Taylor, Treasurer
Mark Dwyer, Chief Financial Officer