29 June 2020
I write to you today on behalf of Federal Council to provide an update on two important matters. First on how your Society is being managed during this pandemic and second on related decisions your Committee has made on membership subscriptions.
Managing the ACDS As you know Federal Council has the responsibility of managing the ACDS. Federal Council cancelled its face to face meeting in late March 2020 following the announcement it made of the cessation of driving activities. Since that time, Federal Council has been using Zoom to meet and have been meeting fortnightly, so that it can continue to deal with the business of the Society on a regular basis. Obviously the key item on the agenda each fortnight has been COVID-19 and how we have needed to deal with it. Federal Council has found meeting via Zoom on a regular basis has been constructive and has decided to continue with Zoom meetings on a monthly basis and reduce the number of face to face meetings accordingly.
This will be a saving to the Society and allow Federal Council to make decisions on a more timely basis.
To emerge successfully from this pandemic, we need to make sure that our Society stays in a healthy financial state and is ready to return to sport as usual when this is permitted.
Member Subscriptions for 2020-2021
As you know the Society’s membership year runs from August 31 each year.
Following our announcement in mid March 2020 of the cessation of driving activities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, members’ ability to drive has been significantly reduced due to competitions, rallies, etc being cancelled. In light of this, Federal Council has considered whether the Society can offer a subscription discount.
In deliberating on this we have considered the following:
ACDS membership is not simply a ‘fee for service’ to attend activities. The Society belongs to the members and we are all custodians of the Society for the benefit of all members, current and future. We must therefore consider the affordability of any subscription discount in the context of the Society’s financial position, both as it stands today and as it may evolve in the future.
Many of our members will be suffering significant financial stress as a result of this crisis, with job losses anticipated to rise further over the coming months. Most of our members treasure their membership and keep it for a lifetime.
We also know that some members have not been financially impacted by the crisis and have indicated that they want to support the Club and fellow members at this time.
The annual membership subscription is an amount determined by resolution of the ACDS at the Annual General Meeting. As Federal Council has previously advised, our ability to hold an AGM at the current time is impacted by a number of State borders which are still closed and as such, to hold the AGM would not be appropriate as all members, if they wish to do so, cannot attend the AGM.
Thus, Federal Council believes it does not have authority to change the fees, even with a proposal to reduce fees.
We have also considered whether we can provide some relief to members by either changing the renewal date for memberships or allowing the fees to be paid at a later date.
Our Rules (Constitution) set out the membership year, which concludes on 31 August each year so Federal Council does not have the authority to change that date – that can only be done by a special resolution at a General Meeting.
Accordingly, Federal Council cannot provide any relief by changing the renewal date.
The flow on effect of this is that members who do not renew their memberships by 31 August will not enjoy the benefits of membership, and those benefits will only be restated from the date they do re-join.
In considering all these factors, your Committee has decided that there will be no change to the Federal component of the membership fees for 2020-2021.
We hope that all members understand the complex environment in which these decisions were taken. Our overarching aim has been to ensure the financial viability of the Society, while at the same time recognising that some of our members will be suffering financial distress.
29 June 2020