Greetings fellow NSWAFI members, and Happy New Year!
As we start this new year, I want to report to you all that we have finalised the 2016 AAFI conference and we have made a substantial profit. We had to wait to buy materials to assist in the reconstruction of Londonderry and that was the delay in completing the budget. Arinex completed the budget in December and advised us of a profit of $10,700. This is an outstanding result. We originally went into the agreement with Arinex, the conference organisers, to make a profit of $10,000, so we have achieved just above that. Arinex really performed a great job for the Association with this result. It was not all plain sailing, and there were times through the process when it looked like we wouldn't even break even. It was turned around and the result can be seen as to the hard work Arinex and the Organising Committee did. $10,000 is a lot of money for a non-profit organisation, and as a member you should ask, what is the Committee going to do with this money? Good question! I'm glad you asked.
Firstly, the four associations that make up the Australasian Association of Fire Investigators (AAFI) are about to sign off on a written agreement that will sustain the AAFI conference into the future. It will continue to be held every two years with the venue moving between associations. As part of this agreement, there is a clause that asks the host association to put money back into the seed funding for the next conference. This is a bit of an insurance policy in case a conference does not make a profit. Currently, that seed funding is $20,000, and this has not increased for over eight years. The new agreement states that the host association can put up to 25% of their profits in to increase the seed funding, but it is totally voluntary. I am going to propose to the Committee that the association put $2,000 towards the seed funding to increase it to $22,000.
Secondly, a proposal I have before the Committee is to establish a scholarship so that one or two of our members can attend the next AAFI conference. We are also asking that the host association also provide some scholarships to all members of the AAFI. More information on how you would apply for this will be provided to members later in the year.
I would also like to establish an Australian version of the Expert Witness Testimony Course (EWTC). This course is a requirement to qualify for the IAAI-CFI exam, if you have not already given testimony in court twice. The IAAI run a number of these courses in the US each year, and their syllabus is obviously for the US court system, which is vastly different to the Australian system. We would have to create a syllabus around the Australian legal system and have our syllabus approved by the IAAI. Once this is done, we will be able to run our own course and that would provide a person to hopefully qualify to sit the IAAI-CFI exam. This will cost money to develop. There is a lot involved in doing this, and it is unreasonable to ask someone to do it in their own spare time. I have been speaking with Anna Davey about how best we can achieve this and hopefully will have more to say about this soon.
Although our finances are in better shape than when I first became President, it does cost money to run this association. We would like to offer more training opportunities to our members, and hopefully we will be able to do so. It is good to have some money in the bank to be able to do some of these things. If you have any ideas about what training you would like the association to offer, then please contact the Education Officer.
Don't forget! Our first Education Night for the year is Thursday, 2 February 2017. A flyer will be sent out shortly.
Thank you for being part of this Association. I hope to see you throughout the year!