Meetings are scheduled with the police and the premier’s office, and thousands of feedback surveys have been completed, but not everyone’s happy as New Mardi Gras opens itself up for criticism at Sunday’s Extraordinary General Meeting.

NMG CEO Michael Rolik will today meet with the gamut of stakeholders involved in staging this year’s parade to discuss its planning and the last-minute change to the parade start area.

“The start area was a trial this year, so we need to first understand how it worked,” Rolik told Sydney Star Observer. “We’re aware of what our issues were — space was a big one for us.

“The planning and changes were very late in the piece. Considering the complexity of the issue I think we did a pretty good job.

VOTE: What did you think of the parade/party split? Vote in the poll on the front page of our website.

“Now we’re interested in hearing about others’ experiences were. There were reasons for doing this — to improve law and order. But it was also on the basis that we could deliver a parade that was effective for us, that didn’t compromise the running of the event and the experience. Some of those things worked well, some of those things didn’t work quite as well.”

But some plan to use Sunday’s EGM to raise issues about the handling of the 2010 season.

Acting as a spokesman for a group of ’78ers, Steve Warren intends to take issue with NMG’s corporate policies and lack of consultation over the 2010 theme ‘History of the World’.

“There was no consultation of inclusion of ’78ers as part of the planning of the 2010 Mardi Gras,” Warren told Sydney Star Observer. “This was a major factor in many ’78ers not getting involved in this year’s parade, along with the over-commercialisation of the parade, censorship of floats and pay only TV coverage.”

Rolik agreed the level of consultation with ’78ers was not at the level of the 2008 30th anniversary season.

“The focus of this year’s event was a much broader sweep of history, so we didn’t consult with them per se around the theme. They were involved and they were welcome as members, volunteers and participants,” he said.

Warren also expressed concern over community groups “being marginalised or excluded because of their politics”.

“The first few Mardi Gras were definitely about politics and united support across many groups,” he said.

Rolik said the subject of corporate involvement “would not be one we intend to tackle in any depth at the EGM,” but that a community consultation process would soon provide space for a debate around the purpose and funding of Mardi Gras.

The financial result of the season will also not be available on Sunday with Rolik stating that “full financial results will be released as usual at the AGM late in the year and in our annual report”.

info: The Extraordinary General Meeting is on Sunday, April 11 from 2pm at NIDA, 215 Anzac Pde, Kensington.

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