CBAA cleared of misuse of Amrap funds

In October 2017, the Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF) received a complaint from a former employee of the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) about the CBAA’s management of the Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap).

The complaint included allegations of misuse of grant funds, and  was accompanied by an “intervention” by AMRAP staff.

Each year, the CBF allocates more than $580,000 to support Amrap that connects Australian musicians to community broadcasters through airplay and promotion of contemporary Australian music and musicians.

As the funding for Amrap is provided by the Department of Communication and the Arts to the CBF under a funding agreement and then in turn to the CBAA under an annual grant agreement, an independent investigator was appointed.

Sydney-based barrister Ben Fogarty investigated the complaint with Pitcher Partners, a national accountancy firm, appointed to provide expert accounting assistance and advice.

Mr Fogarty reviewed complaint documents provided by the former CBAA employee to the CBF Board in October 2017, requested and received a number of documents from the CBAA and the CBF as well as interviewing and questioning the complainant and other witnesses that included staff and management of the CBAA.

In his final report the CBF board Mr Fogarty’s report concluded

  • funds provided under the CBAA Grant Agreements were used for the primary purpose of managing and further developing the Amrap in accordance with the terms and conditions of those agreements;
  • a review of the CBAA’s budgets and financial reports did not identify anything of material concern from an accounting or audit perspective;
  • no substantive inaccuracies or incompleteness was identified in respect of the progress and financial reports provided by the CBAA to the CBF;
  • there was no undisclosed inaccuracy in the CBAA’s financial statements or declarations it issued to the CBF; and
  • the CBF could consider some additional measures of bolstering the governance and oversight of the CBAA’s use of funds for the Amrap.

President of the CBF, Peter Batchelor says: “We have carefully considered (the) report and are satisfied that the investigation was thorough, and the findings are clear.”

 “We look forward to continued support of Amrap to showcase the high quality and diversity of Australian music available to more than 5.7 million listeners of community radio every week.”

CEO of the CBAA, Jon Bisset, says: “Our immediate plans include convening the CBAA’s Amrap Advisory Group, consisting of representatives from the Australian music industry and community broadcasting to assist us in future planning for services to strengthen the relationship between our two sectors.”
CBAA President, Phillip Randall says today’s announcement from the CBF is pleasing as the allegations were taken seriously by the CBAA’s Board.
“The CBAA remains dedicated to Amrap and confident in our ability to deliver it effectively, as we have done for almost two decades and in the service of thousands of Australian musicians and community broadcasters.”

Further background from the CBAA is here.

AMRAP staff were eventually terminated as a result of their actions.


Tags: | | | |