The New Mardi Gras board has re-elected Steph Sands as co-chair and chosen Mark Orr as her counterpart to lead the organisation over the next 12 months.

Sands, who said she was really excited to keep going with the organisation, told Sydney Star Observer encouraging members to renew their membership in October was one of her first goals. She also planned to continue the vision we’ve had all along, which is to keep the organisation stable.

I think what’s really important this year is working out some income diversification, so we’re not just relying on our parties any more to ensure the success and the liability of New Mardi Gras.

Orr, a board member since New Mardi Gras began in 2002, said he’s very proud and excited to have been elected co-chair and was keen to continue establishing the organisation as a business.

We’re only two years old so we’ve got a lot of work to do in terms of our internal organisational processes. We also need to place New Mardi Gras in a more stable financial position. We’re still not out of the woods in terms of our finances and we need to be very careful.

New Mardi Gras would also start to look at what other services they can provide to the GLBTQ community, Orr said.

On the issue of a possible merger between New Mardi Gras and Sydney Pride, Sands said she and Orr were committed to investigating the idea and had agreed to discuss it with Pride co-president Lou-Anne Lind.

We want to make it clear we’re not going to do anything without a community and membership consultation process, Sands said. We have to look at the viability of doing this and it will take a few months to do.

The New Mardi Gras board was elected by members at the annual general meeting and consists of treasurer Craig-Douglas Abber-field, Diane Minnis, Enzo Cam-poreale, Lisa Kaine, Marcus Bourget, Michael Rolik, Julian Narborough and Denise Hanlon.

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