As you would be aware from the AACP’s financial documentation presented to recent Annual General Meetings, the AACP has faced challenges in maintaining its membership. This has been due to a combination of factors, including member retirement, difficulty in recruiting new members despite a range of different recruitment strategies and offers and limited options for funding from other sources.
Further, as seen in other professional associations, during the COVID-19 pandemic there was a significant drop in member numbers; in the AACP’s case it has proved impossible to rebuild member numbers to a satisfactory level. At the same time despite exploring other possible funding options that would be appropriate to the objectives of the Association, Council has not been successful in securing sufficient ongoing funding to compensate for falling membership subscriptions in order to sustain an active membership organisation.
This situation has significantly affected the AACP’s financial position to the point where the AACP is no longer able to continue operating effectively.
Therefore, after long consideration, the AACP Council reluctantly has taken the decision that the Association should be wound up. The Council believes this is the only responsible course of action in view of the Association’s ongoing financial position and to ensure the Association does not end in a situation where it is unable to meet its financial commitments.
In taking this decision, the Council has been advised of a specific course of action that must be taken in order to comply with the legal requirements applicable to winding up a company limited by guarantee, the structure under with the Association operates. Council has sought legal advice to ensure all necessary steps are undertaken in the correct order, which includes appointment of a liquidator. In the first instance a general meeting will be called in the coming weeks in order for members to vote on a special resolution.
Please note that the AACP was still required to hold an AGM this year and a separate general meeting will be held to deal with the decision concerning the winding up of the company. The Council hopes members will understand and support this decision. While the decision has been made very reluctantly, it is taken in the knowledge that other longstanding membership associations have also had to take a similar course of action in recent years.
It is anticipated that after its present and anticipated financial commitments (including some legal costs and the costs associated with the appointment of a liquidator) are met, there will likely be a small residual amount left. In accordance with the Association’s Memorandum and Articles, any such amount will be directed to an organisation with similar objectives. Council will make a recommendation about this organisation.
Members’ subscriptions are paid on a calendar basis and so, while current membership would normally run to the end of the year, the Council has resolved that all current memberships will continue until 30 April 2024. Thank you to those members who have already paid their subscriptions for the next full year (2024); these will be refunded.
The Council wishes to thank members, former members of Council and the AACP staff, for their support and contribution to the work of the Association. The AACP has been able to advocate successfully on behalf of physicians and paediatricians across a range of areas – for example recently, for the creation of telehealth items during COVID-19, in response to the major MBS Review and other Government enquiries, for the retention of the referral system, indexation of MBS items, the creation of different MBS items that better reflect the work of consultant physicians and paediatricians, for a clearer definition and understanding of the work of CPPs and the complexity of presenting patient conditions.
The creation of items 132 and 133 following a concerted campaign by the AACP has been significant in sustaining consultant physician and consultant paediatrician practice. One of our retiring members recently wrote that because his practice consisted largely of very complex, multiply-comorbid patients it was deemed non-viable until the introduction of 132 and 133 – he was not only able to continue a viable practice but to expand his services – “none of which would have been possible without the AACP”.
The AACP has a number of ongoing projects that will continue until such time as activities need to cease – for example, the AACP made a submission to Government’s latest review of telehealth earlier this month. The Council will endeavour to recruit other organisations to take on these projects.
Further information will be sent in the near future about the actions to be taken over the next few weeks to wind up the organisation including the date of the General Meeting to be held early in the new year. If you would like additional details in the meantime, please contact the secretariat via email.