Governance

The will of Roy Everard Ross named the five original Trustees of the Trust. The will also provided for existing trustees to choose new trustees upon retirement or death.

The Trustees are drawn from diverse backgrounds and experience including business, community service, company directorship, academia, environment, education, law, government and as board members of various other entities; both for profit and not-for-profit companies and organisations.

The Trust has established a protocol for the Chair’s role to rotate annually among each of the Trustees.

The Trustees are supported by Trust staff and external advisers who provide professional accounting, investment and legal services. The Trust’s accounts are audited externally each year. A copy of the audited accounts is provided to the Attorney-General of Victoria, together with a report by the Trustees on their work during the year.

Each of the five Trustees holds two half shares in a nominee company, R E Ross Nominees Pty Ltd. All five Trustees are Directors of that company which is the nominal owner of the assets of The R E Ross Trust.

The Trust’s Chief Executive Officer is selected by the Trustees.

Responsibilities of the Trustees

Statutory responsibilities

The main responsibilities of the Trustees are set out in the provisions of the will and the Trustee Act 1958 (Vic). Responsibilities include:    

  •  Administration of the Trust, including the employment of staff and other services that Trustees deem “necessary or desirable in carrying out the trusts of [the] will”, the expenses of which may be met from the income of the Trust,
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  •  Investment of the funds of the Trust, including holding these investments in the name of a custodian trustee for which purpose the Trustees may form a company, R E Ross Nominees Pty Ltd, the expenses of which may be met from the income of the Trust, and
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  • Payment and application of the income of the Trust to charities or for charitable purposes.

In their capacities as Trustees of The R E Ross Trust and as directors of R E Ross Nominees Pty Ltd and Hillview Quarries Pty Ltd, the Trustees also have responsibilities under a number of Victorian and Commonwealth laws, including corporations, industrial, environmental and taxation laws.

Income and its distribution as grants 

Mr Ross provided for the Trust to distribute its income to charities and for charitable purposes. While he expressed a number of wishes as to these purposes, he gave his Trustees the discretion to make all granting decisions.

Mr Ross’ wishes were that his Trustees, “having regard to the circumstances prevailing from time to time give consideration to the desirability of the provision of funds for the education and  maintenance of foreign students in Australia and for the acquisition, preservation and maintenance of national or public park, particularly the protection and preservation of flora and fauna”.

The Trustees have granting strategies and support projects which have regard to Mr Ross’ wishes. Strategies and projects are varied from time to time to respond to changing community needs and circumstances, and to enable the Trust’s income to contribute effectively to public benefit mainly in Victoria.

Gifts and Bequests

The Trust has the capacity to manage new funds contributed by gifts or bequests, prospective donors or their advisers can contact the Trust’s CEO for further information.

Taxation Status

The Trust is a Tax Concession Charity (TCC).

Photo with thanks to the Conservation Ecology Centre and Wildlife Wonders.