Last week’s revelation of the loss Mardi Gras is facing for the 2001-2002 financial year continues to reverberate around Sydney’s lesbian and gay community.
Speaking at the launch of Pride Week on Monday night, Pride Centre co-convenor Lou-Anne Lind said that the crisis showed the need for the community to work together to protect its institutions.
It’s actually a very nervous time for many of us in the community sector, with escalating costs, particularly in public liability insurance, coupled with a declining patronage to large-scale events, Lind said. This issue is actually bigger than a lot of us may think. While Mardi Gras is the obvious example, think of how many organisations you know who are facing the same situation and stop and imagine what the extent of the fallout will be if this trend continues.
Later, the Star asked Lind what support Pride could offer Mardi Gras in its time of need. She replied that although Pride had helped Mardi Gras financially on a number of previous occasions, they were not in a position to do so now as they themselves would be posting a financial loss for the year. However, she added that events during the current Pride Week would be used to raise awareness about Mardi Gras’ situation and the donation appeal currently under way.
The Aurora Foundation’s dinner this Saturday night will also present little opportunity for Mardi Gras fundraising.
Aurora Foundation board member Bruce Pollack told the Star that the Aurora Trust, which receives money from the giving program promoted at the dinner, is constitutionally bound to support only two organisations: Twenty10 and the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service.
However, Pollack said the part of the Foundation that was not the Trust was free to give money to who it likes, and that the board would consider any request made to it by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (although none had yet been made).
But the surplus funds -¦ raised from the management of the dinner would do little to resolve Mardi Gras’ critical financial situation, he said.
While other organisations search their books to see what support they might be able to provide Mardi Gras, many individual Mardi Gras members have expressed anger about the size of the financial loss.
One former Mardi Gras board member, and an unsuccessful candidate for the board at last year’s elections, Paul Prescott, told the Star he believed that Julie Regan’s team has got to resign at the earliest opportunity.
One hundred members could sign a petition forcing the organisation to hold an extraordinary general meeting, which could wield the power to dismiss the board, Prescott said. However, he also noted that forcing the organisation to hold an EGM at the moment might not be practical.