Less than a year after a serious financial loss prompted concerns about its sustainability, New Mardi Gras has turned its fortunes around with a $91,000 cash profit on the 2006 season.

New Mardi Gras announced the profit this week, with chair Marcus Bourget pointing to improved financial processes to explain the result.

I think we’ve been able to turn it around because we as an organisation reviewed the workings of the finances and we now have very rigorous financial controls, Bourget told Sydney Star Observer.

We’re a lot more transparent with our working groups and the responsibility is shared around the organisation.

That’s enabled us to keep a very close lid on our expenses.

The improved result came despite losses on two of New Mardi Gras’ major events this year.

Bourget said Fair Day and the much criticised Launch at the Sydney Opera House lost money. The arts and cultural festival and post-parade party made a profit.

Full financial results for each event will be released in the annual report in June. New Mardi Gras expects to post a whole-year result of $154,000 after tax write-backs and adjustments.

Bourget said the organisation recently assessed itself as income tax-exempt.

The three-year $1.5-million sponsorship deal New Mardi Gras signed with Gaydar in November also helped the organisation into the black this year, but Bourget said it was not the major contributor.

We have received some [of the Gaydar] money this year -“ just a small portion, he said.

It does affect the bottom line of the figures that we’re reporting but overall the organisation has turned itself around.

Bourget would not say how much money they had received from Gaydar so far.

New Mardi Gras was under pressure to perform this year after announcing a $304,000 loss last June.

The deficit led to calls for radical action at last year’s annual general meeting to ensure the organisation stayed afloat, raising the possibility of a shortened season in 2006. Adding to the pressure, last year’s Sleaze party sold about 2,500 fewer tickets than expected.

But organisers left this year’s season relatively unchanged, except for the relocation of Launch to the Opera House and a $10 charge for the event.

Bourget said the organisation was likely to use a similar model in 2007, putting aside this year’s profit as a cash reserve.

We have shown this year that we can put on a very effective Mardi Gras with limited funds available to us, he said.

I think we should use that formula [next year] and then have the financial prudence to secure the long-term security of the organisation.

Asked if it was too soon to say New Mardi Gras was financially stable again, Bourget said the $91,000 profit was a good foundation for the next few years.

It’s a good foundation to build upon and I think it will increase confidence in the organisation within the community, within government and with our business supporters, he said.

To be able to deliver a modest profit is really pleasing and it’s a credit to everyone who’s been involved in running the organisation and all the working groups this year.

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