The Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society (DMMS) is "bewildered" as to why its lease and funding contributions agreements with Gunnedah Shire Council will be reduced.
When contracts are signed, the society will receive $3000 less than previous years and the lease of The Mackellar Centre will be for one year "with the provision to extending for a further two years upon showing satisfactory performance and utilisation of the premises".
The decisions were made in closed council last week and the council said it could not comment when contacted by the NVI.
"We're bewildered by the line taken by the council when we're having a successful year ... we're a volunteer organisation and we're probably having one of our best years ever," president Pip Murray said.
At the August meeting, DMMS vice president Shirley Urquhart said members had met with Gunnedah shire mayor Jamie Chaffey and the council executive about community concerns, which included The Mackellar Centre's opening hours and "the supposed inability to hold an AGM".
"In regards to your concerns about the longevity of the committee and a supposed inability to hold an AGM, we provide documentation to illustrate the case quite to the contrary," she said.
"The same goes to your query about our opening hours. We've been able to provide records, which show that we have more than fulfilled the opening hours agreement under the terms of our lease."
Mrs Urquhart highlighted "the significant contribution made by the society to Gunnedah, especially the achievements made this year in what we know has been a hugely difficult time for all".
"Our efforts to preserve Kurumbede have also brought Gunnedah to the forefront ... our campaign has attracted the attention of national media," Mrs Urquhart said.
"We've discovered there is a groundswell of interest in Kurrumbede and we field many enquiries about the property."
All of this work is carried out by a hardworking, dedicated committee of eight volunteers with a part-time project officer.Shirley Urquhart, Dorothea Mackellar Memorial Society
The society is also waiting to find out if its application for the property to be added to the State Heritage Register is successful.
Additionally, the Drought Communities Program will fund a new mural on Gunnedah Maize Mill, which will feature a historical photo of the late poet and the second verse of her famous poem, My Country, in her own hand. Work will start in spring.
"We believe this will be a great tourist attraction and a wonderful asset for our town," Mrs Urquhart said.
"All of this work is carried out by a hardworking, dedicated committee of eight volunteers with a part-time project officer."
The society's main source of funding is the Department of Education, which has committed funding for a further five years of up to $60,000 for three years, and $55,000 for the remaining two. Gunnedah Shire Council, Whitehaven and Idemitsu also support the awards.
Society secretary Owen Hasler said the cost of the poetry competition and society expenses were about $78,000 in 2018.
"Virtually all our funds that we receive each year go towards the conduct of competition. Our balance is very small so that's why it's very important that we are able to continue these sponsorships as we've been able to do for many years," he said.