In the wake of news the ALSO Foundation is likely to wind down — following last night’s special general meeting ‘no’ vote — Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) director Lisa Daniel has moved to assure groups sharing ALSO’s Bourke St office space that they will stay put.

The ALSO office space in the Melbourne City Council-owned ‘City Village’ housed a number of GLBTI community groups, including MQFF, which pay rent to the council via the ALSO Foundation.

Daniel told the Star Observer she had been in touch with the City of Melbourne this morning and had been assured by council the rental agreements will remain in place.

“I’ve spoken to the appropriate City of Melbourne people this morning and have been assured nothing will change,” she said.

“The only thing that will change is we’ll renegotiate our rental stuff directly with the City of Melbourne.

“What I’ll do in the meantime is be the main contact for the City of Melbourne so they’re not getting bombarded with phone calls and emails, and I’ll set up a meeting with the City of Melbourne in the next fortnight and get as many of the groups here to attend that … make the leases official.”

Daniel said the council had not flagged any rental increases and said ‘hot desks’ used by the Zoe Belle Gender Centre and the Anti-Violence Project may still remain in office space used by MQFF or possibly gay and lesbian radio station JOY94.9, situated on the floor above.

Daniel said the situation with ALSO would not impact on MQFF’s operations.

“It doesn’t affect us in a formal sense. We have no formal or financial relationship with the ALSO
Foundation except for the paying of the rent,” she said.

“But in terms of a historical thing and a personal thing it’s very sad.

“It’s a pertinent lesson to all of us to have boards that are vigilant and up-to-date with finances and a good lesson to make sure we’re all responsible and financially viable.”

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