Presidents Report to the May 2022 AGM
Scott Williams - VK3KJ
In a year that was again dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, the focus of the WIA has been on supporting the Amateur Radio Service with strong advocacy.
With just less than one year under my belt as the newly elected WIA President, my training wheels are just coming off as I settle into two full years being on the WIA Board of Directors.
In a year where the coronavirus pandemic continued to be a disruptive force across Australia and around the World for what is the third year in a row.
As the WIA President, I am pleased to report that the Board has progressed a number of initiatives this year, but much of our focus has been on improved engagement with the regulator, increased advocacy, supported by a range of submissions and improved governance both internally within the office operation and on the Board.
As I commented when I took up the President role, the WIA needs to get back to basics and improve our engagement with members and clubs and become more outwards focused. Despite we have made some progress, including appointing a new Club Liaison Officer, there is a long way to go and there is certainly acknowledgement that we have a range of challenges that need further action and attention.
None more so than our internal systems and the way we electronically interact with members. We have experienced a range of issues with our Memnet system, but also significant issues with our Concierge’s ticketing system that has been plagued with a range of issues.
The Board is acutely aware of the impacts this has had on our members and for this we apologise profusely with emails sometimes been caught up in the ticketing system for weeks at a time. Even in some cases, not being delivered at all.
Focusing on the way forward, the WIA will overhaul its IT strategy in 2022 and 2023. This includes a new ticketing system that provides the stability we need, but importantly is professionally supported.
Memnet will see a range of enhancements and if this cannot be achieved satisfactory, Memnet will be replaced with a CRM system that is fit of purpose. Areas like automatic renewals, but more importantly, getting your renewals in advance, on-time with reminders are essential.
There has also been much feedback and discussion about the WIA website and there is no doubt despite been rich with content, it needs an overhaul and improved graphical interface and much easier structure to navigate and find information. This is another project that will get underway in the near future.
In regard to the many in-kind committees that support the WIA, the Board is committed to rejuvenating and refreshing all committees in 2022. There is some wonderful work that is done within these many committees however, it is important they stay relevant, have clearly defined objectives, are outcome focused and of course we mentor committee members of the future.
The WIA over the coming months will consider all committees necessary to support the objectives of the WIA and commence the process of re-constituting these. This will be done in consultation with current committee members.
In regard to the financial results, I am please report that the WIA has posted a small surplus of $6,366 for the year ending 31 December 2021.
This small surplus included an additional provision of $15,200, which allowed for future international representation in regard to the World Radio Conference which will be held in 2023. The WRC is held every 3 - 4 years and a number of representatives attend representing the WIA.
The membership report contained with the Directors report represents a total of 3029 members at the end of the reporting period. This is a reduction on the previous year of 96 members, which reflects a stabilization in member retention compared to the past 3 – 4 years.
The WIA continues to be proactive in finding ways to add value to the membership. We appreciate different members place varied expectations on the types of service they wish to receive, and finding the right balance is necessary.
Some of the additional benefits delivered this year include the membership discount card, the launch of Hamads Classified Online and significant enhancements to the Awards program. This is not an exhaustive list, but demonstrates we are always exploring new ideas and ways to add value.
A significant piece of work this year was the WIA’s comprehensive submission to the ACMA Five Year Spectrum Outlook and submission on the proposed ACMA Licensing restructure, and the potential introduction of class licensing to the Amateur Service.
The WIA also followed up with an online webinar for members that presented the various licensing options and provided feedback via a panel of subject matter experts. This was attended by well in the excess of 100 members and helped shape the WIA submission into a substantial and detailed submission that was well received by the ACMA.
In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow Board members for there ongoing support of the WIA and to acknowledge the wonderful contribution of all of our committee members and many volunteers.
There is also no doubt that the success of the WIA is due to our 3000 plus strong members, that have a belief in and support of such an enduring and well-respected Institute. I thank all of our members for their ongoing loyalty.
Though it is difficult to look forward with any certainty with the many challenges facing the WIA, we remain optimistic and committed that the coming year will present more opportunities to engage more closely.
My best regards,
WIA - President
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