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News September 19, 2018

CBAA absolved of wrong-doing over Amrap funding by independent inquiry

CBAA absolved of wrong-doing over Amrap funding by independent inquiry

An independent inquiry has absolved the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia  (CBAA) of any wrong-doing over the 18-year-old Australian Music Radio Airplay Project (Amrap).

Last October, a former CBAA staffer filed a complaint to the sector’s funding group Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF) alleging, among other things, that the CBAA had misused grants money meant for Amrap.

In April, the CBF appointed Sydney barrister Ben Fogarty and national forensic accountancy firm Pitcher Partners to thoroughly investigate the paperwork.

Their findings were:

  • 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.”

Read the CBF’s statement HERE.

CBAA president Phillip Randall announced he was “very pleased” at the CBF’s announcement about the outcome.

“The allegations were taken very seriously by the CBAA’s board,” he pointed out.

“Stakeholders can be rest assured that the investigation was very thorough and the CBAA worked co-operatively at all times with the CBF during that process.”

The original six-person Amrap team was sacked in February this year after the CBAA made moves in late 2017 to restructure Amrap to, reportedly, bring it more into the CBAA fold.

The six left the offices and continued to run the initiative on an unpaid basis and formed the Republic of Amrap.

They complained, “It has become untenable to perform Amrap duties under the management of the CBAA” and that the restructure would compromise Amrap’s transparency, integrity and innovative future.

At the time, an independent radio plugger told TMN, under condition of anonymity that “Over the years, Amrap has become an important tool (and one of the best) available in this country when it comes to delivering independent music to community radio station presenters” and those indie artists struggling financially would find it difficult to get their music delivered without Amrap’s AirIt service.

In the wake of the findings, Randall emphasises, “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.”

CBAA CEO Jon Bisset added: “With this investigation complete, we look forward to continuing our work in an exciting era for community radio.

“More Australians than ever – 5.7 million each week – are listening to these community-owned and operated radio services, which provide crucial support for Australian arts and cultures.”

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