Click here to view a short story by one of the original ACRM NSW members regarding his history and the formation of A.C.R.M. NSW Inc.
The Beginning – the 70’s
ACREM is an offshoot of the group ACRM (Australian Citizen Radio Monitors), which was first formed in South Australia around 1974 to help petition the Government to legalise the CB band in Australia (see CB Info). At this stage it was known as the Australian Citizen Radio Movement, and the relaying of emergency calls was a secondary objective of the group, but a task that was rapidly growing as the band increased in popularity.
With the legalisation of the CB band in July 1977, the group changed its name to the Australian Citizen Radio Monitors, and started concentrating wholly on the task of providing the emergency monitoring services it had began some 4 years earlier. CB was fast becoming popular among the Australian public, and the need for trained emergency monitors increased rapidly. ACRM soon started spreading throughout Australia, as did other groups that had split away from ACRM just before and soon after legalisation. Some of these breakaway groups continue today.
ACRM in NSW began operations around 1974/75 with some early Monitors operating under the ACRM banner but separate to SA. Later NSW Monitors worked with the parent group in SA to form a totally autonomous NSW body, forming ACRM NSW. Although the formal start date for ACRM NSW was sometime around the late 70’s or early 80’s, there were monitors operating in NSW under the ACRM banner not long after ACRM formed in SA, so the actual commencement of ACRM in NSW is around 1974/75.
We Remember the 80’s!
Around 1982, ACRM in Queensland decided to add the word “Emergency” to the name, and ACREM was born. In NSW, Monitors that had been operating under the guidance of ACRM (SA) and ACREM Queensland for some time, decided to form ACRM (NSW) in 1986, being officially incorporated in 1990 as “The Australian Citizens Radio Monitors Inc.”, although there remained some Monitors of ACRM (SA) and ACREM (Qld) operating in NSW. This fragmentation reduced the groups ability to gain widespread recognition in NSW and it continued to operate, quietly in the background, for a number of years.
The 1980’s was a boom era for CB in Australia, and in other states both ACRM and ACREM were growing rapidly, handling up to hundreds of calls a week in some regions. Some Divisions even erected dedicated ’Central Base Stations’ from which they conducted their monitoring duties, rather than using the members own equipment. There were no end of willing CBers eager to join the ranks of Monitor, and an even larger number reporting incidents ranging from breakdowns to serious accidents, and more.
In 1982 the Australian Government proposed to withdraw the 27MHz CB band, making it illegal overnight, and ACRM/ACREM joined the fight, along with thousands of CBers and CB groups, to keep 27MHz CB legal in Australia. The masses won, and the Australian Government not only kept 27MHz legal, but also adopted the more popular 40 channel ‘US’ allocation, as opposed to the ’Australian’ 18 channel format that had been legalised back in 1977.
Let’s Get With The Times – the 90’s until now!
During the 90’s the popularity of CB started to decline, and with the introduction of mobile phones the CB monitors were no longer the only way for the general public to obtain assistance. ACRM & ACREM groups around Australia were forced to undertake other duties in the community or face the real prospect of closing down due to lack of interest. Many groups started providing safety communications for the community, offering an affordable and reliable means of maintaining communications during fun runs, bike rides, triathlons and the like. Involvement in other community safety programmes, like the Illawarra Division of ACRM (NSW) involvement with the Illawarra Evacuation Centre, also helped show the community that CB could be used for much more than just chatting.
In 1997, after more than 20 years of fragmented operation in NSW, it was decided to try and bring together Monitors in NSW under a single banner. Following discussions with ACRM (NSW), ACRM (SA) and ACREM (Qld), A.C.R.E.M. – NSW was born. In early 1998, A.C.R.E.M.-NSW was officially recognised by the Australian Taxation Office, and just like all other ACRM/ACREM groups, it was granted public benevolent institution status and declared a deductible gift recipient. The NSW Treasury also granted stamp duty exemption, officially recognising our charitable status.
A.C.R.E.M.-NSW also affiliated with the Australian National 4WD Radio Network, who operate the VKS-737 HF Radio Network for travellers and 4WDers, and the Australian Association of Citizen & Band Radio Operators (ACBRO), who represent the interests of all CB owners to the various Government departments and industry. Members were also involved with the Bureau of Meteorology, Storm Spotter and Storm Watch systems, both reporting incidents of severe storms and broadcasting warnings from the Bureau to the community. It is believed that this project may have helped save many lives by providing the community with advance warning of severe storms, and providing the Bureau with real time updates on the behaviour of these storms so other communities can be warned.
In 2000, with the introduction of the New Tax System, A.C.R.E.M.-NSW once again made application to the ATO and received endorsement as a public benevolent institution and deductible gift recipient.
Today, both ACRM and ACREM continue to operate in Australia, providing a monitoring service to the CB community and a safety communications service to schools and community groups. They also offer assistance to other emergency services during times of need, providing a communications network independent of telephone and electricity systems, or just volunteers to help answer phones or run messages. In some regions, they also provide monitoring and communications services to the boating community.
Times are Changing!
In late 2004 A.C.R.E.M.-NSW received some interest from Queensland operators who had been monitoring the emergency channels as an individual since ACREM (Qld) had apparently closed. In early 2005 we accepted, trained and activated our first Queensland Monitor and officially opened a ‘Queensland Division’ until we are able to complete re-structuring to allow ‘A.C.R.E.M.-NSW’ to become simply ‘ACREM’ and operate in both NSW and Queensland.
In April 2005 A.C.R.E.M.-NSW changed to just “ACREM” and “New South Wales” was dropped from our legal name. The Executive was restructured to provide a Director and Executive Committee, governing the entire organisation, and a Coordinator in NSW and Queensland to act as Assistants to the Director and oversee operations in their respective state.
In December 2005, some 8 years after bringing together NSW Monitors from ACRM and ACREM, A.C.R.E.M.-NSW incorporated in NSW as “Australian Citizens Radio Emergency Monitors Incorporated” and applied to the Australian Securites and Investments Commission (ASIC) for registration as an Australian Registerable Body. This was completed in March 2006 with the group being issued ARBN 118 858 567.
The incorporated group, now also registered as a registerable Australian body to allow operation outside of NSW, then needed to apply for a new ABN, which was issued by the ATO on 20th April 2006 (ABN 28 118 858 567). On 16th June 2006 the ATO once again granted charity tax concessions to ACREM as a Public Benevolent Institution, and on 21st June Deductible Gift Recipient status was also endorsed. This means that ACREM, due to changes in tax law and changes in the organisation, has been endorsed as a Public Benevolent Institution and a Deductible Gift Recipient three times since 1998!