Edward Mandla
External Memberships Council Meeting

Published On: 14/09/2015
Spring in the City of Sydney seems to always bring out blossoming External Memberships, now at six hundred thousand dollars.

They are a veritable potpourri of memberships that are either nice to have or plainly not essential.

I’ve counted at least 42 that fit that category. I’ll merely share a half dozen of them with the Chamber:

• Association of Canadian Archivists

• Place Leaders Association – that is “a network for people in place”

• Animal Liberation

• Australian Association of Bush Regeneration

• International Association of Public Participation

• Global Product Stewardship Council

The obvious weed in the 2015 membership handouts spree is the SBA or Sustainable Business Australia, which gets special mention and five paragraphs devoted to it.

It’s an association targeted at commercial entities trying to flog products. No other Council is a member or government department.

This is really a grant rather than a professional membership. Perhaps we could request that part of our money be used to update their website that barely works.

Two years ago, the Chamber was told that external memberships would undergo “a rigorous review”.

We’re told last week that this process consists of asking staff whether they want them? I guess if you’re not paying for it out of your own pocket, it’s easier to say “keep it” particularly when we’re “invited” to be a member and harder to cancel a membership when it’s run by “nice people”.

I’d like to see us start with a fresh sheet of paper and not renew any memberships. Each membership would need a proper business case and when in doubt, engage your friendly elected Councillors.
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