The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) will hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Sunday, February 18, at the Andrianakos Centre, at Alphington Grammar.

According to the Annual Report, the GCM will post a $2.9 million loss for the 2022-2023 financial year.

Prof. Marinis Pirpiris, the GCM treasurer in his report emphasises the “challenging period through the COVID years”.

“Like many other organisations during this time, the GCM has had to address many issues, including reduced income from its rentals, staff concerns about job security and career prospects, and the financial wellbeing of the organisation.”

To meet the challenge brought on by the pandemic and in the post-pandemic period, the GCM treasurer writes that the Community “decided to increase its support of the schools and cultural programs.”

“The Board decided to invest in its organisation to continue building an increasingly positive culture and retain staff and students.”

According to the Annual Report, rental revenues from the Greek Centre fell to $775,000 from the pre-pandemic income of around $1 million.

The GCM treasurer emphasised that the “liquidity of the GCM is strong.

“Our cash at the bank, as of June 30 2023, was $1,378,749, and our combined liabilities were $806,779.”

Prof. Pirpiris stated in his report that the “GCM assets, which include the Greek Centre, Alphington Grammar School, and our churches, have been valued at over $110 million.”

“Our asset position is also strong from a leverage point of view as our loan is circa $2.1 million, with our assets in the financial report written down circa $29 million, the ratio being circa 7 per cent.”

One of the most significant expenses for the period was in the educational programs of $945,000. According to the treasurer’s report, the GCM “invested in modernising its curriculum and attracting and retaining experienced educators.”

“Salary payments from this accounts for most of the increased expenses in education this year.”

In a statement supplied to Neos Kosmos, Prof. Pirpiris said that the GCM ” undertook an enthusiastic cultural program as we emerged from the pandemic with a significant uptick in events (for example, two Antipodes Festivals in 5 months) which cost a considered investment.”

According to the treasurer, the Antipodes Festival has clawed back much of that cost through increased support from the Victorian government of $800,000 over four years and the City of Melbourne at $120,000 annually.

The treasurer’s statement stresses the GCM’s review and restructuring of administration, cultural programs and human resources to ” retain our valued staff that deliver the GCM programs.”

In his statement to Neos Kosmos, Pro. Pirpiris called the 2022/23 result “disappointing” and added that it “needs to be considered considering the conditions within which it was reached.”

“The loss, when considering deprecation, is at $2.3 million and is made of a combination of COVID-affected income and expenses – particularly a near 35 per cent reduction in rental income.”

The GCM churches, according to the financial report, reported a loss of around $350,000 “once again in part COVID affected.”

The $1.8 million commitment by the commonwealth government will go to the upgrade of “church halls and facilities” to augment “revenue streams to support the church, outreach and cultural programs.”

Prof. Pirpiris stated that the GCM has ” since July 2023 taken measures to correct the result.”

Refining cultural events and the education program aims to address some of the loss. Streamlining some classes means a “better student-to-teacher ratio and an increase in enrolments.”

The GCM treasurer is expecting “near normal returns from rental income as COVID deferments and payment plans come to an end.”

In his statement, the treasurer, Prof. Pirpiris, underscored that the “Community’s assets have increased significantly, and the organisation remains appropriately leveraged.”

He re-emphasised that the GCM’s assets, which include the Greek Centre, Alphington Grammar School, and churches, have been valued at over $110 million.