ARBS Foundation chair, Ian Hopkins, said the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the organisation’s income stream reducing the number of grants made available to support industry programs.
Speaking at the foundation’s annual general meeting, Hopkins said the organisation completed another successful 12 months of operation despite massive disruption caused by the global Coronavirus pandemic.
It led to the 2020 ARBS Exhibition scheduled for May to be postponed to 2022.
Hopkins said the 2022 event will be held in Melbourne rather than Sydney as originally planned.
He said this move has enabled the rolling over of the deposit paid to the Melbourne Exhibition Centre for 2020 and the avoidance of cancellation fees had the event been cancelled all together.
“As a result of this change all fees paid for 2020 have been refunded to exhibitors and cash will not recommence flowing to Exhibitions until the second half of 2021,” he said.
“ARBS Exhibitions did commit to make an annual financial grant to the Foundation to support its programs. In light of the loss of income from the 2020 Exhibition, the payment for this financial year was held off.
“Nevertheless, the Foundation was able to continue to receive and deal with requests for funding for a range of projects.
“All of these requests have been considered on their merit. Some received funding others did not.”
Since its inception, the Foundation has made available grants totalling $301,506. In the past financial year, grants totalled $102,106.
Grants were made available to a range of new projects including funding for CIBSE to develop and introduce building services training modules for delivery to staff of head contractors.
A grant was made available to Team Catalyst to examine the energy efficiency of different air conditioning systems in a generic building and funding was allocated for eight sole traders to undertake NABERS courses.
Hopkins said four submissions received from a range of organisations were not approved.
“Due to the loss of income for the 2021 financial year and the likelihood that funds won’t be available from Exhibitions until late in the first half of the 2022 financial year the Foundation Board will need to be circumspect in approving projects,” he said.
“We will need to work with the currently available funds through this next 12 months plus.”
Hopkins said the composition of the board of directors is being kept under review.
“I am very aware that the board needs to have gender balance which reflects community expectations while ensuring the skills brought to it are appropriate,” he said.
“To this end several individuals have been interviewed. I am hopeful that we will be able to ratify new appointments in the near future.
“Finally, I would like to extend my personal thanks to all of the directors for the constructive way they have approached all matters brought before the board.”