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Committees

Pursuant to section 31 of the Australia Council Act, the following committees and panels provided specialist advisory services and recommendations to the Board and management for consideration and approval:

1. Audit and Finance Committee
2. Nominations and Appointments Committee
3. Strategy Committee
4. Decisions Review Committee
5. Rescission of Decisions Committee
6. Appeals Committee
7. Peer Assessment Panels
8. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Strategy Panel
9. Major Performing Arts Panel
10. Venice Commissioning Panel

Audit and Finance Committee

The Audit and Finance Committee was chaired by Board member Ms Sophie Mitchell during 2018–19.

The committee provides oversight of the Council’s financial reporting and budgeting functions, internal and external audit processes, risk management, the system of internal controls and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

The Chair of the Council, the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer and General Counsel have a standing invitation to attend committee meetings. The committee met four (4) times during the year. The Audit and Finance Committee reviews its Charter annually. In 2018–19 the committee determined to revise and update the charter within the following year.

Representatives from the Council’s internal and external auditors were invited to attend the committee meetings. The Chair of the committee reported on relevant matters at the following Board meetings.

Figure 8: Attendance at Audit and Finance Committee meetings

Name

Meetings attended

Eligible to attend

Ms. Sophie Mitchell

4

4

Mr Adrian Collette AM*

1

2

Mr. Khoa Do**

1

2

Ms. Zoe McKenzie

4

4

Mrs. Christine Simpson Stokes

3

4

Mr. Mario D’Orazio***

0

0

*Mr Adrian Collette’s term as Audit and Finance Committee member concluded 31 December 2018.

**Mr Khoa Do was appointed to Audit and Finance Committee on 1 March 2019.

***Mr Mario D’Orazio was appointed to the Audit and Finance Committee on 28 June 2019.

Nominations and Appointments Committee

The Nominations and Appointments Committee is chaired by the Deputy Chair of the Board, Miss Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin. The committee facilitates and oversees the nominations process for the Council’s peer and strategy panels in consultation with senior management.

The committee considers all nominations at its meetings and then makes recommendations to the Board for appointment of the endorsed nominees. The Board considers each recommendation and approves the relevant appointments. The committee met three times in 2018–19.

Figure 9: Attendance at Nominations and Appointments Committee meetings

Name

Meetings attended

Eligible to attend

Miss. Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin

2

3

Mr. Leigh Carmichael

2

3

Mr. Khoa Do

3

3

Ms. Rebecca Weisser

2

3

Strategy Committee

The Strategy Committee is chaired by Board member Ms Zoe McKenzie. The committee met three times in 2018–19.

The Committee assists the Council on matters of strategic importance and provides advice to support the realisation of the organisation’s strategic and corporate objectives.

Figure 10: Attendance at Strategy Committee meetings

Name

Meetings attended

Eligible to attend

Mr. Adrian Collette AM*

1

1

Mr. Leigh Carmichael

2

3

Mr. Khoa Do

3

3

Ms. Zoe McKenzie

3

3

*Mr Adrian Collette AM was appointed to the Strategy Committee on 17 April 2019.

Decisions Review Committee

The Board has empowered the Decisions Review Committee, under the Council’s Authorisations Framework and the Act, to determine requests for review of grant related decisions. To meet the requirements for review, the applicant must establish a relevant administrative ground to dispute a decision.

The Decisions Review Committee does not assess the artistic merit of applications. Its purpose, under the Board’s direction, is to ensure the peer assessment panels and senior officers have followed procedural fairness in making decisions.

The membership comprises the CEO, the Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee, a member of the Nominations and Appointments Committee and one additional Board member. From 30 June–23 October 2018, Mr Tony Grybowski was Chair of the committee. For period 24 October 2018–20 January 2019 Mr Tim Blackwell was Chair. As of 21 January 2019, Mr Adrian Collette AM was Chair of the committee. Further information is available online.

The Decisions Review Committee did not meet in 2018–19.

Rescission of Decisions Committee

The Board has empowered the Rescission of Decisions Committee, under the Council’s Authorisations Framework and the Act to:

  1. Suspend a decision by a Panel, Committee, Officer(s) or Employee(s) approving a grant or loan of money or the provision of a scholarship, fellowship, award, or other benefits, until such time as a decision is made whether to rescind or confirm it; and
  2. Rescind or confirm a decision by a Panel, Committee or Officer(s) or Employee(s) approving a grant or loan of money or the provision of a scholarship, fellowship, award, or other benefits.

The Rescission of Decisions Committee consists of the Deputy Chair and the CEO. The Chair may exercise the power in unison with the CEO when the Deputy Chair is absent. The authority shall only be exercised where the project outcomes contemplated in a grant application or funding decision under review may not comply with all applicable laws, or could reasonably be deemed to have the effect of bringing the Council into disrepute.

The Rescission of Decisions Committee did not meet in 2018–19.

Appeals Committee

The Board has empowered the Appeals Committee, under the Council’s Authorisations Framework and the Act, to consider and determine any appeal from a Board or committee member or senior officer of the Council against a decision by the Rescission of Decisions Committee to rescind a previously approved decision.

The Appeals Committee consists of the Chair (or the Deputy Chair where the Chair has participated in the decision to rescind or confirm the subject of the appeal) and three Board members, as elected by the Chair (or Deputy Chair) providing that the Board members have not been involved in the decision under appeal. At least one committee member is to have experience as an arts practitioner.

The Appeals Committee did not meet in 2018–19.

Peer assessment panels

A peer is a practising artist, arts worker or industry expert with knowledge and experience of the Australian arts sector. Decision making on funding based on the assessment of artistic merit by a panel of peers is a core principle of the Council. The Council convenes assessment panels across a range of arts practices, with membership changing between assessment meetings rather than remaining static.

The Council has a large and diverse pool of over 740 peers to select from when forming assessment panels. Peers are chosen for their experience and knowledge, which enables them to make an informed assessment about the work in a particular art form or area within the arts sector. Close monitoring ensures there is an appropriate mix across a number of diversity characteristics.

The Council has a robust governance structure for the peer assessment process. Peers must declare all actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest in accordance with the Council’s Conflicts of Interest Policy (which is included in the Peer Assessment Handbook). Governance matters are also discussed during a peer’s induction to the role and are reiterated during assessment meetings.

Recommendations made by peers are considered by certain senior officers of the Council who are authorised to make grants and pursue particular purposes already approved by the Board or its committees. The senior officers consider the ranking reports by panels of peer experts when allocating the grant budget.

There were 414 opportunities for peers to participate in one of the 56 assessment meetings during 2018–19, involving 346 individual peer assessors.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Strategy Panel

As part of the Council’s commitment to First Nations self-determination and decision-making, our First Nations strategy panel comprises senior arts leaders who provide expert advice supporting the development and promotion of traditional and contemporary arts practices. The panel encourages new forms of cultural expression by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who practise any art form and live in urban, regional and remote areas.

Membership of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Strategy Panel as at 30 June 2019

Mr Wesley Enoch

NSW

Chair

Ms Nancy Bamaga

QLD/TSI

Member

Ms Jody Broun

NSW/WA

Member

Mr Jason Eades

VIC

Member

Mr Patrick Mau

TSI/QLD

Member

Ms Hetti Perkins

NSW/NT

Member

Ms Sonia Smallacombe

NSW/NT

Member

Mr Major Sumner

SA

Member

Mr Jared Thomas

SA

Member

Deputy Chair Miss Lee-Ann Tyunypa Buckskin (SA) held observer status on the panel during 2018–19.

Major Performing Arts Panel

The Major Performing Arts (MPA) Panel is authorised by the Board to maintain the National Framework for Governments’ Support of the MPA sector, to monitor the performance of the MPA companies and provide strategic advice on critical sector issues.

Membership of the MPA Panel as at 30 June 2019

Mr Derek Young AM*

VIC

Chair

Prof Larissa Behrendt

NSW

Member

Ms Kate Brennan

VIC

Member

Ms Helen Cook

WA

Member

Ms Rosheen Garnon

NSW

Member

Ms Rachel Healy

SA

Member

Prof Judith McLean

QLD

Member

*Mr Derek Young AM commenced as Chair 21 January 2019, replacing Mr Adrian Collette AM.

Venice Commissioning Panel

The Venice Commissioning Panel of the Australia Council Board provides project governance oversight for Australia’s representation at the Venice Biennale. The Panel is comprised of four Australia Council Board members and sets the overall strategic direction and objectives of the project. This Panel was established in October 2017 as part of the Council’s governance model to strengthen Australia’s presentation at the Venice Biennale.

Membership of the Venice Commissioning Panel as at 30 June 2019

Mr Sam Walsh AO

WA

Chair

Miss Lee-Ann Tjunypa Buckskin

SA

Member

Mr Leigh Carmichael

TAS

Member

Mrs Christine Simpson Stokes

WA

Member