Media Release

February 27, 2009

Three outstanding community treasurers from a South Australian surf club, a preschool in Victoria and an Australian Football Club in NSW have been recognised at the inaugural Westpac Community Treasurers' Awards presented by Treasurer the Hon. Wayne Swan MP and Westpac CEO Gail Kelly in Melbourne today.

Responsible for the financial well being of their organisation, community treasurers often go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that community groups continue to meet their basic financial obligations.

At the awards, Westpac announced it had established a dedicated Community Markets division to serve the unique needs of not-for-profit organisations. Westpac has specially trained more than 100 bankers to serve the needs of the sector and committed $100,000 to provide free financial education to charities and community organisations.

Westpac CEO Gail Kelly said there had never been a more important time for Westpac to support the community organisations that assist so many Australians.

"Westpac is proud to invest in the sustainability of Australia's community organisations through our financial education workshops, innovative and low-cost product offerings, specialist team of bankers and our backing of the Westpac Community Treasurer's Awards," Mrs Kelly said.

"These awards help recognise and showcase the hard work Community Treasurers do for their community and we're very proud to be a supporter of this great initiative. It's one small way of both celebrating and saying thank you for their efforts."

"Today's winners are great examples of leadership in the Australian community, and I congratulate them on their outstanding efforts. Australia's community treasurers work hard so that local sporting clubs and community organisations can get on with what they love doing," said Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan.

Over 260 nominations were received recognising the hard work of Community Treasurers from all over Australia for the inaugural Awards program. Treasurers from a broad range of Not for Profit organisations from Rural Fire Brigades to wildlife care and local sporting clubs competed for three national awards announced at Melbourne's Telstra Dome Today.

Dr Rhonda Galbally, CEO of Our Community, said Westpac's support of the awards and the community sector presented numerous opportunities for Australia's 700,000 community organisations.

"By putting in place specialist community sector bankers and banking products, creating an array of practical financial literacy tools and training, and supporting Australia's first online community financial centre, Westpac is pioneering a new approach to community sector support," Dr Galbally said.

The inaugural winners in each category are:

  • Large Organisation:
    Heather Thompson, Treasurer for Grange Surf Life Saving Club Inc., South Australia.

    The judges were impressed with Heather's attention to internal controls, systems and reporting, and her efforts to improve the organisation's financial position, both by bringing money in and reducing money going out. They also noted Heather's clear commitment and length of service to Grange Surf Life Saving Club (at least 20 years of service, 11 as secretary and nine as treasurer), and her involvement in surf life saving beyond the club, through her membership of the State Surf Life Saving movement.
  • Medium Organisation:
    Kim McConnochie, Treasurer for Wollongong Australian Football Club, NSW.

    Kim's clear professionalism and attention to internal controls, reporting mechanisms, systems and processes to monitor financial performance impressed the judges. They said Kim's work to improve the financial position of his group had set him up as something of a saviour for the club, an effort that put him beyond the boundaries of an everyday treasurer.
  • Small Organisation:
    Rebecca Thompson, Avenel Preschool, VIC.

    Along with Rebecca's attention to internal controls, systems and reporting, the judges said that her clear commitment to the sustainability of her preschool was what set her apart from the pack. As well as keeping the books, Rebecca has worked hard to ensure the ongoing viability of the preschool through energetic efforts in fundraising and forward planning. Her contribution to the social functioning of the group, and the wider Avenel community, was also noted.

About Westpac Community Treasurers' Awards

The Westpac Community Treasurers' Awards - the first of their kind in Australia - recognise and reward volunteer community treasurers for their commitment to ensuring the financial stability of community groups across the country.

The Awards are run in association with Our Community, a social enterprise organisation that provides advice and tools for Australia's 600,000 community groups and schools.

The Treasurers' Awards program consists of a national search to find three community treasurers who fulfil the duties of ensuring good financial management, good financial governance and good financial outcomes.

About Westpac's Community Markets

Westpac is focused on becoming the leading provider of financial services to the Not for Profit sector. With a team dedicated to supporting our Not for Profit (NFP) customers, Westpac is committed to

  • Understanding the unique day-to-day financial workings and requirements of Not for Profit organisations
  • Developing products and services to meet the needs of NFP's.
  • Providing specialist bankers dedicated to serving the Not for Profit sector.
  • Connecting NFP organisations with the education, training, resources and other areas beyond banking that will help strengthen the NFP and its long-term vision.

For further information or comment contact Our Community on (03) 9320 6800 or email to