The ARBS Foundation has completed another successful 12 months operation. However, this has been against the backdrop of the Covid 19 pandemic that created massive disruption in the industry. Unfortunately, the 2020 ARBS Exhibition scheduled for May had to be postponed. It was rescheduled for February 2021 in Melbourne, but the continuing Covid shutdowns in Victoria coupled with the high likelihood of international travel continuing to be heavily restricted through the first half of 2021 lead to the Exhibitions Board’s decision to push the event out to 2022
The 2022 event will be held in Melbourne rather than Sydney as originally planned. This move has enabled the rolling over of the deposit paid to MCEC 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
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 grants totalling $301,506. In this past financial year, the total was $102,106.
Those new projects funded during the year were: –
- The third year of the AMCA/AREMA trade scholarship program.
- CIBSE to develop and introduce building services training modules for delivery to staff of head contractors.
- Team Catalyst to undertake a further stage of the project looking at relative energy efficiency of different air conditioning systems in a generic building
- As a test case, one sole trader was approved to study three modules of those available for NABERS accreditation to advise on the rating of offices.
- Subsequently funding of further 8 sole traders to undertake NABERS courses has been approved
Four submissions received from a range of organisations were not approved. The reasons why they were not approved varied. They were either not value for money, not clear enough in their scope, were proposing to research subjects that are well studied already or had a private commercial outcome.
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. We will need to work with the currently available funds through this next 12 months plus
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. 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.