VRN A0026600C
ARBN 081 355 722
ABN 74 766 293 648


September 2007
Marc Walters


The 2006/2007 period has been a time of readjustment and consolidation for APANA. All regions have seen a decrease in membership, although the dramatic losses of preceding years have slowed as membership settles around core members and those with special interests and needs which APANA membership satisfies to a satisfactory degree.

Some external factors have influenced the current state of APANA's fortunes:

  1. Changes to regional administration, including loss of technical and organisational knowledge, which at times has resulted in less availability to service the technical and administrative needs of members in a timely manner. 
  2. Lower membership in general; the result being a reduction of ideas, projects being initiated and completed, and general enthusiasm. 
APANA is going to have to change to remain viable and relevant. Financially, more cost cutting and efficiencies are required. In regards to relevancy, new ways to work within the basic tenets of the organisation's driving philosophy will have to be explored. We should recognise that all organisations change throughout their lifetime to service the changing needs and aspirations of their membership, and that APANA is no different.
APANA is a great organisation with a reasonably efficient structure with a core of dedicated executives and general membership. Over the next year we will see whether APANA is to be driven by external influences or if we determine the direction ourselves to the extent possible within the current competitive and financial climate. The key tasks in the immediate future as I see it are:
  1. Gain financial stability and security. 
  2. Ensure the relevance of the organisation's services and goals for existing and potential new members.
  3. Consolidate equipment, services, procedures and organisational knowledge to minimalise losses and reduce workload on existing technical and executive members 
  4.  Increase membership levels 

Marc Walters

President, APANA

Jeffrey Toll

Region Members
Sept 2007
Sept 2006
SA 41 54 down13
Brisbane 22 39 down17
Hunter 34 42 down8
Perth 13 19 down6
ICR 10 15 down5
Melbourne 11 18 down7
Sydney 13 14 down1
ACT 3 3 -
TOTAL 147 200 down53

The period 2006/2007 has unfortunately seen an overall loss of 53 members from APANA. The total membership now stands at 147 which was previously around 200 members this time last year. Particularly hard hit was Brisbane with a loss of 17 members.
The loss of members from APANA can be attributed to a number of reasons, but the main cause is the competitive nature of providing Internet access of which is APANA’s core reason for existence. With many big players offering package deals with phone and Internet access(so called bundling) and by using careful advertising and marketing, it is no wonder many members have drifted away from APANA. However, this has been discussed over and over at past AGM’s and MC meetings and perhaps is no point repeating it again.

APANA at the crossroads.

Though it may seem the future of APANA is in doubt the way things are currently going, one thing is certain, what we are doing at the moment just isn’t working.  APANA must change if it is to survive.... though change can be a good thing. But from out of this, is opportunity, to do something different and new.... and that sounds positively exciting. In the past year, some ideas have been presented of what of what direction to take, though for one reason or another these ideas haven’t been implemented. Motivating members in a non profit organisation is never easy, the time, effort and work put in, never match the reward and for many people who lead busy working and family lives there simply isn’t enough time for volunteer work.

So we come to a fork in the road for APANA, which way do we take?

Should we congratulate ourselves on a good the good job we have done in the past and declare we made a difference in helping Australians connect to the Internet and walk away?
I suggest there is still opportunity for APANA to offer something that people want, just as 12 or so years ago when the Internet was gaining popularity there was a ground swell of genuine interest to get connected. APANA was born out of that desire by people to get connected. Could it be, we repeat that success again but with a new idea?

Carolyn Baird

The loss incurred in the past year was substantially less than in previous years due to timely action taken by most regions to reduce their expenditure when membership losses occurred.

With the exception of Brisbane and National, all regions managed to do a very good job in balancing their budget and four regions actually recorded a small surplus for the year while Perth's deficit was even smaller than the surpluses of any other region.
As the result of significant membership losses National was unable to recover from expenses incurred by last years AGM mainly as a result of the travel allowances paid to Management Committee members who attended. Despite this being a long standing tradition, as of this year these allowances will no longer be paid.

During the year when it was apparent that Brisbane was in dire straits financially, SA cooperated to moved all its dialup members onto the ECN ports that Brisbane was leasing and share the cost of those ports. Subsequently both Sydney and Perth have moved all theirr dialup members to that connection as well and it looks likely Hunter will follow suit later this year. As these connections are available Australia wide there are no longer any regional restrictions that have limited the availability of our dialup services in the past.

Last year, there were only eleven new members. Of those seven joined Hunter(although two have now resigned); SA had two new members; Brisbane and Sydney one each. There have been no new members since April this year while APANA has lost twenty members since then.

Unless we can gain new members or curb the current rate of loss of existing members, it won't be long before the only services that APANA will be able to afford are those that can be offered free-of-charge to APANA by individual members using their own private connections as is currently the case in ACT and Melbourne and for the most part Sydney. I have no doubt that individual members in all regions will volunteer to do this to keep APANA 'alive' but I sincerely hope it won't come to this.


ACT Region:

No report submitted

Brisbane Region:
Pauline Sheppard

Brisbane has had a dreadful year with lots of resignations. We have gone from being the largest region to one of the smallest and with an ever-increasing debt. At the time of writing we are $3,428. in debt with under 30 members, whereas we were in credit this time a couple of years ago with memberships hitting the 100 mark.

Lack of interest in APANA has meant that the same people are doing everything, with no new blood for quite some time. Our decrease in numbers have resulted from the expiration of gargoyle, lots of problems and outages, and people moving away towards ADSL from other companies. Despite my being in constant touch with ECN, we still do not appear to be competitive price-wise in the ADSL market. We would be further in debt were it not for some other APANA branches renting some of our ECN Ports from us.

With lack of interest, lack of support, furthering debt and declining numbers, I don't know how much longer Brisbane can continue. We have many plans that could get us out of this situation; however, severe lack of time from those on the committee to be able to implement any of them is stopping this from happening at the moment and into the foreseeable future.

Pauline Sheppard
Deputy Regional Co-ordinator & Regional Finance Officer
Brisbane APANA

Hunter Region:
Marc Walters

The region has been quiet this past year.

There are several ongoing issues that require urgent attention over the next month or two:
  1. A drop in membership has reduced the economic viability of our dial-in lines. A move to the 56K ECN service has been recommended and is being actioned.
  2. Ageing equipment has resulted in increasing faults and failures. The plan is to consolidate two of the region's machines into one using newer hardware. The benefits to this include reliability, less points of failure, and a reduction in electricity usage.
The reduction in membership is of concern, as in past years there has been enough turnover of member numbers to
maintain a steady level of income. However, as with all regions, this has given the region the incentive to become more efficient and reduce the workload on the core executive, which will maintain its viability for at least the immediate future.

One of our members has kindly offered to the region a number of PCs no longer in use. Carolyn will select the most
useful of these which will then be put to use to rebuild and maintain the regional hardware.

In conclusion I would very much like to thank Hunter's System Administrator Chris for his work in maintaining the
region's network and introducing improvements such as the excellent anti-spam measures. Also, I thank Carolyn for her
work in the day to day activities of supporting our members in addition to being the organisations' Treasurer.

Marc Walters
APANA Hunter Regional Coordinator

Independently Connected Region:

No report submitted

Melbourne Region:

No report submitted

Perth Region:
Jeffrey Toll

Perth APANA region continues, though we only have 13 members left. We have endeavored to reduce our outgoing expenses any way we can by turning off unnecessary equipment and cutting little used services. We have discontinued all dialup services and those remaining members using dialups have been transferred to the ECN 56k port lines which are shared with SA and Brisbane. A couple of members connect via our arrangements with DFT ADSL and a couple take advantage of the Internode ADSL deal. All other members connect to the Internet by their own means, leaving Odyssey to cater for users who connect via telnet/ssh or use the email services.
Odyssey continues to be our main server, and has generally been quite reliable, the main link(ADSL) continues to be with Amnet which is also shared with National server.
No meetings of any kind have occurred for about 2 years as there seems little interest in doing such, however I have had regular contact with individual members either by telephone or email and the occasional visitation.

We still have an outstanding debt to National of over $3000, which we have little or no chance to pay back unless a miracle happens.

South Australia Region:
Steve Fraser

It has been a comparatively quiet year for SA. We have seen the expected trickle of members leaving for broadband, but have also had some new web hosting members join, with several others pending.

Our finances have been tight but we have(just) kept out of the 'red'. Nevertheless, this remains an area of concern. We have rationalised our equipment, reduced electricity consumption and generally tried to reduce costs. However, there is a limit to how far we can do this, so new members and more varied types of membership are very important to our future survival.

The relationship with community wireless group Air-Stream, while not delivering income, remains a potential source of membership. We have provided Air-Stream members with Internet web access, while in return they have made all their access points available for use by our members. We hope to capitalise on this in the future.

The building owners rent increase was successfully rejected, meaning that we did not have to relocate. The move to ADSL in January seems to have been quite successful, replacing the increasingly unreliable PAPL link and giving a useful increase in link speed.

The social events each month have been attended by the same group of regulars and remains one of the cornerstones of the club. Our web pages have been replaced by a Joomla based content management system and the Tierzero server was replaced.

Some future planned activities include reducing the number of servers at the hub, implementing some redundancy for login authentication for login authentication and introducing new web services. So there is still much to do.

We are looking forward to hosting the AGM and to renewing friendships with members from other regions.

Steve Fraser
SA Regional Coordinator.

Sydney Region:

No report submitted