To those of you who spent time away from work in January, welcome back! If you missed our January issue, I provided an update on our progress against the VicWater Strategic Plan and the changes we are making to improve our member services.
This month, I would like to reflect on the support we received over the financial year. Looking back to March 2020, we were uncertain of the future of our events and the income that it generates to support our members. Our business model has been determined on a 60:40 ratio of member subscriptions to additional income (including events, sponsorship, training and other services). Until 2020, this had proved effective, offsetting complete reliance on member fees and providing the team with a strong incentive to build our offering.
Among many things, COVID-19 disrupted our model causing us to recast our thinking and work with the Board in scenario and business continuity planning. This was not unique – every other not-for-profit association was doing the same and many struggled to survive.
Thanks to our members, we have been supported through an events subscription program enabling us to buffer the expected losses associated with no physical gatherings. This meant that VicWater has progressed through the financial year on the basis of a break-even result rather than digging into critical cash reserves.
With other unexpected support, we are now tracking above budget. This allows us to build our financial reserves to sustainable levels according to our Strategic Plan while being positioned well for 2021-22 in the provision of our member services.
Under our banner of better together, VicWater is for-purpose, that is:
- to influence government policy,
- provide industry forums on priority issues,
- build industry capacity through collaboration, and
- share information with our members and stakeholders.
Our intention will always be to fulfil this as best as we can with the best resources we can find.
As we put our minds to planning 2021-22, we look to grow our policy leadership, thought leadership and advocacy, and driving critical sector programs to secure its sustainability, safety and diversity. I will be seeking your input over the next few months to make sure that our ideas work and amount towards our purpose.
On behalf of the team, I thank our members for their dedicated support to VicWater. We count it a privilege to serve.
Chief Executive Office