Disappointment over Bundaleer annual general meeting

Bundaleer AGM was held last month.
Bundaleer AGM was held last month.

A reader has contacted the Wauchope Gazette to complain about the recent Bundaleer Care Services annual general meeting.

John Oxley from Port Macquarie said he was very disappointed in the presentation of the financial report on November 19.

“Bundaleer reported a profit of $16.4 million for the year ended 30 June 2018. However, $17.5 million of the profit arose from a revaluation of its independent living units, leaving a loss of $1.14 million for the year, if compared on a basis consistent with the prior year. A profit of $866,000 was reported for the prior year, meaning that there was a $2 million difference in profit between the two years,” said Mr Oxley.

“The Managing Director (also CEO) of Bundaleer, Gareth Norman, did not provide a coherent reply to a question as to what steps would be taken to reverse this $2 million difference in the forthcoming year. He blamed mainly past inaction in the years from 2010 to 2015, for the loss in 2018 (disregarding the ‘paper’ profit from the revaluation.) There are three ways (excluding paper profits) of reversing losses – increase income, decrease costs or do both, none of which he mentioned,” added Mr Oxley.

“The sudden revaluation of the independent living units has enabled the managing director and board of Bundaleer to avoid too much scrutiny of the financial results for the year ended 30 June 2018. I am told that the board has taken notice of the need to restore the profitability of Bundaleer and hope that grand plans for the future will not prove to be a distraction to their efforts to do so.”  

Mr Oxley says the board also needs to pay attention to its transparency in relation to its members.

“Failure to answer the key question of how to reverse the decline in profitability and not allowing members to speak about items on the agenda at the meeting is not achieving the goal of transparency required for good corporate governance. The notice of the meeting clearly stated that members would be allowed to speak about any items on the agenda, which is absolutely a requirement for accountability to members,” said Mr Oxley.

“Closing on a positive note, I wish nothing but success for Bundaleer in future, noting that the board has introduced a number of initiatives aimed at its sustainability and general improvements in infrastructure. I sincerely hope that these come to fruition,” he added.

In response, Bundaleer Chief Executive Officer, Gareth Norman said that at the AGM on Monday November 19, a letter written by Mr Oxley with a series of questions was acknowledged and an in-depth response was provided to each of the questions raised.

“The responses were appropriately answered by both the Company Auditor and the Managing Director.   The answers to Mr Oxley’s questions are supported by Bundaleer’s Annual Report 2017 – 2018; a copy of the annual report is provided to each member of Bundaleer, and is both open and transparent,” said Mr Norman.

“The board and management of Bundaleer has over the past two years significantly invested in the future of the organisation and is committed to ensuring the provision of the highest quality of care for our care recipients, delivered by the most energetic and committed staff,” added the CEO.   

“We continue to work together, focusing on supporting people with healthy ageing, maintaining their independence, staying informed and keeping connected to family and friends.  Bundaleer will continue to invest in innovative ways to ensure good financial stewardship of the organisation is maintained and is absolutely committed to support the Royal Commission into Aged Care,” said Mr Norman.