A short co-habitation be-tween Pride and New Mardi Gras could turn into a long-term relationship, with leaders of both organisations not ruling out an eventual merger.

New Mardi Gras has taken up temporary residency in Surry Hill’s Sydney Pride Centre after the lease ran out on its Erskineville headquarters.

But the two organisations might not be getting cosy at the Hutchinson Street centre for long. According to the latest Pride Centre newsletter, Pride is paying almost $120,000 per year in rent and bills, and could soon be looking for a new base.

The newsletter states the Hutchinson Street landlord has lodged a development application which would involve the demolition of the current building, and Pride was in negotiations about leaving the site before the end of its lease in 2005.

This could see the two organisations moving into a new building together, New Mardi Gras co-chair Michael Woodhouse says.

That’s an option we absolutely need to look into. It makes perfect sense to share resources, he says.

I think it’s a really good way forward for New Mardi Gras. It seems to me quite a lot of energy goes into maintaining the infrastructure of organisations. We have to start looking at whether maybe less is more.

Woodhouse said a future merger would have to be debated and voted on by the next Mardi Gras board. He also said the two organisations

needed to maintain their diversity whatever happened.
Pride president Lou-Anne Lind said merging the two organisations was a fairly long-term option.

A merger is a fairly dramatic thing. This is very early days -¦ if we can live together under the same roof that’s fantastic. If we can start doing some joint projects that’s even better, Lind said.

I think what’s particularly exciting about this is our two organisations will be living under the same roof. The partnership opportunities that arise from this could be really beneficial to the community.

Lind said Pride had explained to the different Pride Centre user groups there could be changes. The organisation has also set up sub-committees to negotiate relocation.

The main reason behind a possible Pride Centre relocation was finances, Lind said. After a poor result from the Pride New Year’s Eve Gold Party, the organisation had tried to avoid spending its savings.

Meantime, Pride has called for submissions from organisations and groups to get involved in this year’s Pride Week celebrations. Pride Week runs from Saturday 21 June to Sunday 29 June and participants have until Monday 28 April to get their applications in.

This year’s Pride Week theme will be based on important anniversaries taking place this year, including 25 years of Mardi Gras and 10 years of Queer Screen.

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