Mission & Core Values
THE FUTURE VISION FOR BINNA BURRA
'The heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future
"The Laheys: Pioneer Settlers and Sawmillers', Shirley Lahey, 2003. P xiv
'Organisations, like organisms in nature, depend for survival on their ability to acquire an adequate supply of the resources necessary to existence. In this effort, they have to face competition from other organizations, and since there is usually a resource scarcity, only the fittest survive.'
(Based on Darwin's theory of evolution: Morgan, 1997)
This document is presented in three parts.
It has been prepared by the current Board of Directors of Binna Burra Lodge Limited after consultation with shareholders, staff and others interested in the future of the business.
PART 1: THE BUSINESS NATURE OF OUR NATURE-BASED BUSINESS
This first part provides some background and context to Parts 2, and 3 below.
PART 2: CORE VALUES AND PRINCIPLES
The things we care about. Lays out the core values and principles to guide the longer term strategic direction for the company. It also contributes to ensuring that decision-makers at all levels within the company take longer-term considerations into account in their day-by-day business activities.
PART 3: A NEW VISION AND MISSION STATEMENT FOR BINNA BURRA
Expresses the sense of shared purpose and destiny the Shareholders, Board and Staff see of the future we want to create for Binna Burra. It gives shape and direction to the company's future business development.
PART 1: THE BUSINESS NATURE OF OUR NATURE-BASED BUSINESS
For most of its 80+ year history, Binna Burra has provided wonderful nature-based experiences to generations of shareholders and visitors, but it has not been a profit oriented business. Overwhelmingly, increasing personal wealth as a result of individual investment in Binna Burra has not been the primary concern of successive generations of shareholders. Shareholders have been driven by other motivations - having discounts when staying at the Lodge, a commitment to the 'spirit of Binna Burra', access to a unique environmental experience and other 'non-financial' benefits.
'Binna Burra has struggled to survive for almost all of its more than 80 year history. It has survived because of the collective will of a lot of people over the years, and their commitment of time, energy and money. Our recent history has been an increasingly desperate battle to survive in the face of growing external pressure (competition) and growing internal pressure (scarce capital resources and an aging shareholder base). We have been too focused for too long on the daily grind of survival (fighting off crocodiles instead of draining the swamp)'
Colin Beard, Chair of the Board, Binna Burra Limited, 1994 - 2003
As a business, we have become Australia's oldest 'ecotourism collective'. Shareholders and others are involved because they want to be - they believe in the organisation's cause and its values. There is a sense that affinity/network survival is more important than business survival.
Our shareholders are conservative investors. They do not expose themselves to the risk of investing large sums of money in the company as they would with their own house, their own business, or other personal investments. They would not lose their life savings if the company had to be wound up. Those shareholders who accept the responsibility as Company Directors, as well as the Officers of Binna Burra Lodge Limited., accept the duty to act in good faith, in the best interests of the company, to act with care and diligence, to avoid a conflict of interest and not to misuse information obtained as a Director. They also have to regularly face the financial realities confronting the company.
For decades, there have been insufficient profits from the business to fund adequately both the necessary maintenance and continuous improvement of the company's infrastructure and quality of service.
A sequence of stages in the evolution of Binna Burra has led to this current state. These include, but are not necessarily restricted to:
- The urgency of 'today's business' (survival) has superceded the importance of 'tomorrow's business'. A long term tendency for ad-hoc, short-term business focus has stifled a longer term vision and more strategic business approach.
- There has been a decline in the market for the existing Binna Burra product. It's been 15 years since Binna Burra Lodge reached its peak in annual stays of 22,941 room nights.
- The emergence of newer and more competitive eco-tourism products, experiences and destinations that are more attuned to market demands has begun to erode the Binna Burra market share.
- There is a commonly occurring message from clients of 'tiredness/aging' in many elements of the business's infrastructure - rooms, roads, power, waterlines, sewerage, technology, back-of-house services etc. The risk of aging infrastructure results in the Binna Burra product being perceived as becoming jaded, with the quality of services and facilities also beginning to fall short of market expectations as a consequence of antiquated facilities.
- The range of product offered at Binna Burra has not kept up with changes in consumer demand. A fixation on product options that were successful in the past has created a form of inertia that has made Binna Burra less sensitive and adaptable to emerging markets.
- The policies of protected area management agencies such as Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service in relation to resourcing the protection, conservation, presentation and rehabilitation of the Lamington National Park in accordance with its World Heritage status have had both positive and negative impacts at different stages of the company's history.
- Competitiveness requires the establishment of a more strategic focus at both the Binna Burra business level and for the Gold Coast hinterland and Lamington National Park as desirable visitor destinations within the new 'Brand Gold Coast' and 'Brand Australia' marketing initiatives.
The Board of Binna Burra accepts that we are now in the serious business of rejuvenating a mature, 70 + year old, ecotourism product. We need to change an apparent culture of a reactive approach to the future to a mind-set that acknowledges that while the future cannot be precisely predicted, its forces can be identified, the Binna Burra position in the new marketplace can be strategically assessed and new business opportunities are continuously being considered.
Our new business philosophy can be summarised as 'anticipate, accommodate and manage'.
This process of ensuring Binna Burra remains vital and relevant to its future target markets, must:
- start with a clear and agreed understanding of our core values and principles (Part 2)
- see the development of a new Vision and Mission Statement for the business. (Part 3)
Management will now be given the responsibility of drafting a new Strategic Business Plan for Binna Burra Lodge Limited which will be guided by our new Vision, Mission Statement and expression of our core values and principles.
PART 2: OUR CORE VALUES AND PRINCIPLES
Key words: Sustainability of our business and our environment, Integrity, Respect, Tolerance, Honesty, Safety, Heritage, Friendship, Mutual understanding, Spirituality, Therapeutic, Educational, Experiential, Authentic, Value for money, Good service, Enjoyment and Fun.
Binna Burra recognises that sustainable prosperity requires a balance between the economic, cultural/social and environmental benefits and impacts of tourism and that growing any one of those items at the expense of another is unsustainable.
ECONOMIC + CORPORATE:
- The economic viability of Binna Burra must be balanced with the ecological integrity of the land owned by the company adjacent to the Lamington National Park, our positive relationship with the residents of Beechmont, the professional development of our staff and the delivery of quality service to our customers in all aspects of the business operations.
- The business must achieve an appropriate return on the assets employed in order to generate the financial resources to ensure the economic viability of the business.
- The individual members of the Board should represent a diversity of skill sets and experience with insightful, independent minds. They must understand and accept their fiduciary duties on behalf of Binna Burra Limited.
- Generating profits to put back into the business will remain paramount to the creation of individual wealth to shareholders through the payment of dividends.
- Best practice sustainable design and construction standards will be utilised in all future capital works at Binna Burra. The feasibility of new infrastructure will include long-term social and environmental costs and not just short-term construction costs.
Binna Burra will:
- continue to support the World Heritage Listing of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserves of Australia (CERRA), including Lamington National Park.
- respect national, state and local laws applying to World Heritage and historically and culturally significant heritage areas
- reduce threats to the biodiversity of environment within Binna Burra as well as the Lamington National Park.
- promote the sustainable use of natural resources in all its activities.
- ensure its infrastructure design blends in with its surroundings.
- be an efficient energy consumer, use renewable energy resources where possible and
- manage all waste without damaging the surrounding environment.
- commit to monitoring and managing visitor impacts on company land and cooperate with protected area management agencies for land within the Lamington National Park.
- maintain a commitment to an annual independent audit of our environmental performance based on globally recognized best practice benchmarking and certification.
- ensure future development on the existing site will be located with consideration of natural hazards such as precipitous slopes, bush fire potential and storm water run-off.
- restrict the audio level of radio, television and other unnatural sounds
- increase public awareness about appropriate technologies and the 'cradle-to-grave' energy and waste implications of various building and consumer materials.
SOCIAL - CUSTOMERS, STAFF AND COMMUNITY
Binna Burra will:
- satisfy the needs and expectations of its customers in every aspect of the service delivery
- provide for friendship, tolerance, safety and mutual understanding among those different nationalities and cultures who choose to visit Binna Burra
- reconnect visitors with their environment for the spiritual, emotional and therapeutic benefits that nature provides
- provide visitors with ready access to educational materials and experiences to enhance their understanding and appreciation of our local environment and threats to it.
- encourage practices amongst our visitors which minimize the human impact on the world heritage environment
- provide visual surprises within the design of facilities to stimulate the educational experience
- promote new human values and lifestyles to achieve a more harmonious relationship with local, regional and global resources and environments.
- encourage simplicity of functions to prevail while respecting basic human needs of comfort and safety
- reject the exploitation of human beings in any form, including staff employed, children and visitors
- place a greater investment in human resource development to strive for continuous improvement in service and performance
- provide encouragement incentives for our staff to continuously educate themselves on ways to interpret the environment, the history and the heritage of Binna Burra in ways that inspire and educate visitors
- promote historical, heritage, cultural and environmental understanding of its land and built resources with local national and global relationships
- enhance the local Beechmont resident population's well-being, quality of life and employment opportunities
THE ORIGINAL INHABITANTS AND FOUNDING FAMILIES:
- We acknowledge and respect that the land upon which Binna Burra is located was used by the traditional indigenous people of this mountain area.
- The pioneering vision and work of the Lahey and Groom families, and others who shared the ideals of the National Parks Association of Queensland is recognised as underpinning the history and heritage of Binna Burra. We will continue to 'assist in preserving .. (beauty spots) …in their natural state for future generations..' as stated in the original 1930's Objectives of the company.
PART 3: MISSION STATEMENT FOR BINNA BURRA
The Mission of the Board, Management and Staff:
To be a meaningful connection between nature and heritage.
We attain this by:
Providing a gateway to Lamington National Park;
Offering a range of eco-friendly accommodation, activities and experiences;
Nurturing and improving the land and heritage buildings of which we are the custodians.
To achieve this we must have a sustainable business, which has sufficient economic strength to ensure its environment and social performance recognises and complements the world-heritage natural environment in which the business is located.