Starfish Initiatives continues to break substantial new ground with its rural and regional sustainability initiatives, including several national and international ‘firsts’, such as:
- The world’s first Centre for Reconciliation (Myall Creek)
- Australia’s first Zero Net Energy Town (Uralla)
- Australia’s first community-council solar farm (Farming the Sun | Lismore)
- Australia’s leading region-wide focus on sustainable energy (North Coast Energy Forum).
Starfish’s sustainability services remain at the cutting-edge, particularly our methodologies for collaborative governance, creative communication and participatory processes in relation to strategic development, planning, decision-making, research and more.
Despite this, Starfish finds itself in a very challenging situation ~ a reflection of the existing external and regulatory context as well as some internal operational issues.
During the last few years, there has been a significant slowing of investment and interest in the shift to sustainability. Some of the more obvious examples are in the areas of renewable energy, sustainable farming and closing the gap (reconciliation). This has directly impaired several of Starfish’s initiatives as funding for such initiatives has not been able to be secured for some time.
Additionally, it is now three years since Starfish originally applied to the Australian Government for tax deductible gift recipient status. At the time of writing, there is still no clarity as to when this matter may be resolved, despite the clear outcomes and benefits arising from Starfish’s work. Starfish’s inability to engage with philanthropic funders or to seek day-to-day donations for its work puts a significant constraint on its operational capacity and viability.
Given all this, for the short-term Starfish will need to prioritise a few strategic initiatives which are sufficiently well resourced to be effective while continuing to market its services and seek funding, wherever possible, for initiatives that aligned with tangible rural sustainability.
The Board of Directors welcomes your continued interest, support and involvement with Starfish’s work during this challenging transition.
Download the full 2013|2014 Annual Report here (3Mb).