Newcastle's Anglican Diocese has offloaded 50 properties worth about $34 million in the past decade in an effort to shore up its financial position.
Bishop Peter Stuart said a significant portion of the proceeds had been reinvested back into new properties and into a long-term ministry and mission fund.
The sale proceeds had also been used to ensure the diocese was able to meet its ongoing commitments to the National Redress Scheme, established by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
"Right through from 2017 moving forward we have been committed to ensuring we have the funds in place to pay redress when it falls due in a pastoral and caring manner," he said.
"We are also making sure we have the resources there moving forward into the future.
"We will continue to see some property sales of church buildings in that regard in a careful and planned manner."
Despite the income from the property sales, Bishop Stuart described the diocese's overall financial position as "cash-tight".
The Newcastle Herald reported this week that the diocese will introduce a single management board from October as part of a move to ensure long-term financial sustainability.
The Newcastle Anglican Corporation Board will oversee the diocesan business entities - Newcastle Anglican Schools Corporation, the Samaritans, which offers disability and community support, Anglican Care, which oversees aged care services and parish ministry.
Bishop Stuart will chair the board. The nine other members will be announced next Wednesday.
"Part of what we are trying to do is see if there are ways of working better together. Will there be better outcomes for the communities we serve by being involved in this work of consolidation?," Bishop Stuart said.
He said tighter government funding models for schools, aged care and community organisations combined with increasing operating costs across had made it necessary to review the existing structures.
It is the right response from government to ensure that public monies are used well but that has an impact on organisations.Bishop Peter Stuart
"It is the right response from government to ensure that public monies are used well but that has an impact on organisations," Bishop Stuart said.
"We see some duplication of resources across agencies. That means that we don't get the breadth and depth of staffing that we might. By working together we might be able to see more staff employed in different ways. One of the areas we are looking at is our aged care and disability workers who are often a casualised or in part-time work. If we are able to bring those work forces together we can provide more employment security to the people who work in those areas."
The provision of aged care services had become a particular challenge for the diocese in recent years.
"We have areas of our business that have been in deficit in the last couple of years. We can't keep running up deficits," he said.
"Aged care has moved from a surplus to a decline in the financial year that has just passed. The financial year that is coming up will see further decline in profitability."
"...one of the things I have had to do since March this year is to get to understand more of what is happening there.
"The overarching board that has some people who have great skills in financing and budgeting and investment. They are going to be looking very closely into this space. Those are some of the things that are driving us to bring about this change."
Each of the business areas will have distinct corporations, assets and identities.
"There will still be Samaritans Serving our community and Anglican Care serving our community and the schools serving our community," Bishop Stuart said.
"It's one group of board members but they act as a board for each of those agencies. They have to think about those agencies in their own right."
While you're with us, did you know the Newcastle Herald offers breaking news alerts, daily email newsletters and more? Keep up to date with all the local news - sign up here
IN THE NEWS:
- Former Knights lower grade player Joel Dark passes away in hospital after suffering an on-field seizure
- Newcastle council cancels New Year's Eve fireworks, celebrations
- First look inside the Roundhouse hotel's glassy roof-top bar and restaurant in the heart of Newcastle's CBD
- NSW Coalition crisis: Nationals back down on koala policy cross bench threat after Gladys Berejiklian ultimatum