New Mardi Gras will take the It’s Your Parade consultation public on Monday night at Paddington RSL.

The forum will build on the submission phase of the process undertaken by New Mardi Gras that began in mid-June. The organisation received hundreds of submissions responding to a range of questions about the future of the parade, with a large number of these now available to read online.

Forum MC Julie McCrossin told Sydney Star Observer a number of clear themes had come out of the process to date.

“The umbrella themes are things around artistic standards; around who should be in the parade; who’s it for and what its fundamental purpose is; and then a whole lot of issues and recommendations around sponsorship,” she said.

McCrossin said the focus of the night would be on community members.

“It’ll be an interactive experience, and in my experience people really appreciate that because it’s a lot more energetic,” she said.

“Well over half the time will be opportunities for questions and comments. There will be absolutely no speeches of any kind.

“I’m going to be interviewing Danielle Harvey who’s been responsible for reading every single submission so she’s absolutely across being able to summarise the key messages that have come through.

“Events manager Katrina Marton will be there, and Michael Rolik, the CEO. I’ll be interviewing them in terms of action as a result of the consultation and some stuff they were already doing that’s relevant to the issues that the consultation has raised.”

NMG co-chair Nick Parker said the clear message out of the process thus far was how people had accepted the need for sponsorship.

“It is a fact that the money is needed, whether it be corporate or government or additional fundraising. The parade is an expensive thing to put on,” Parker said.

“What it’s about now is having the right mix with the right emphasis, and having the sort of organisations who show a commitment to the community and demonstrate support for their gay and lesbian employees.”

Parker said the organisation was in a stronger position as a result of the consultation.

“The engagement that we’ve got through this is something that I’m really excited about,” he said.

“There is a great deal of passion about the parade out there and a great sense of ownership in the community.”

info: The It’s Your Parade forum starts 6.30pm at Paddington RSL. All welcome.

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