I felt somewhat daunted by the task of writing this report. I think this was because I started by thinking about the whole organisation’s work and, knowing how much we have collectively achieved over the past year, I couldn’t help but feel a bit insecure about my own workload in comparison – even though I know that NAPWHA’s achievements are the sum of a lot of personal contributions.
I’m not sure why I had all this angst, as my experience of being involved with NAPWHA is one of being actively supported by all those involved in the organisation – Board members, staff, portfolio convenors and working group members.
Since stepping in to the role of Acting President in February I have been pleasantly surprised by the support offered by many in the HIV community. In part I believe that this is a reflection of the good work that NAPWHA does and the good standing this creates in the community.
I want to express special thanks to David Menadue for his great leadership in the role of President over the past two years. He has left large shoes to fill. I would like to thank both David and Executive Officer Jo Watson for their active support during the period when I was on a steep learning curve. David is a very able Acting Vice-President and continues to represent NAPWHA on the HIV/STI[Sexually Transmissible (or Transmitted) Infection] Infections spread by the transfer of organisms from person to person during sexual contact. Also called venereal disease (VD) (an older public health term) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). sub-committee of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on AIDS, Sexual Health and Hepatitis (MACASHHMinisterial Advisory Committee on AIDS, Sexual Health and Hepatides. The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing’s high level expert committee, providing advice on issues relevant to HIV/AIDS, sexually transmissible infections and hepatitis C. ), and the Board of the AIDS Trust of Australia. It’s great to know that I have David and Jo to advise when there are tricky bits to negotiate.
The year kicked off with a bang at the NAPWHA Conference in Cairns in October 2003. I certainly came away energised by the high level of engagement that positive people had in ‘our’ conference and the diversity of our individual responses to the challenge of living with HIV. In his President’s report for last year David wrote “this conference is a wonderful opportunity for us all to share our current experience of living with HIV, but also to firm up our resolve to address current gaps and needs for positive people around the country.” Judging from the level of activity of all of the portfolios since then it appears that this wish came true, as the whole organisation feels like it has stepped up a notch or two this year.
Since February I have worked closely with different portfolios as opportunities have arisen. I am the Board liaison for the Legal and Indigenous portfolios and have had the opportunity for face-to-face meetings with the convenors of both. I am also privileged to be a member of the Positive Women’s Network, which has met by teleconference and is now trying out an email list. I look forward to being involved in the further development of this network.
I am involved in the Care and Support Network, which also meets by teleconference, and have also done some political lobbying with the International Portfolio, developing a presentation on international issues from a NAPWHA perspective in collaboration with John Rock, which we have presented to AusAidAustralian Agency for International Development. Australian Government agency responsible for managing the Australian Government's official overseas aid program. , and various members of parliament.
I continue to be a NAPWHA representative on the ATPA Steering Group, and represent NAPWHA on the AFAOAustralian Federation of AIDS Organisations. AFAO is the peak non-government organisation representing Australia's community-based response to HIV/AIDS. AFAO's work includes education, policy, advocacy and international projects. Board.
Amongst all this I have attempted to make a useful contribution to the work of the NAPWHA secretariat on issues like Medicare, the Free Trade Agreement and the development of NAPWHA’s draft strategic plan. Particular thanks go to Kirsty Machon and Peter Canavan for their quality work on these documents.
Jo Watson and I attended the Community Sector Support Scheme (CSSS) funding review in May 2004. I’m pleased to report that NAPWHA continues to receive positive feedback on the range of our activities and our effective governance structure.
I have also chaired two teleconferences, one with member organisation representatives and one with portfolio convenors, which provided me with good opportunities to discuss on key issues for NAPWHA as well as providing both groups with an opportunity to have input into NAPWHA’s planning. I hope to make these teleconferences a more regular occurrence.
I have only skimmed the surface of the work NAPWHA has produced, but I know that a great deal of the detail is covered in the staff and portfolio reports presented here. I encourage you to read these reports as they capture the breadth and depth of NAPWHA’s work over the past year.
I look forward to continuing in the role of President for the next six months. While this will keep me busy, it certainly isn’t onerous to play a leadership role in an organisation that enjoys such a high level of professionalism, energy and enthusiasm from all involved.
My thanks to all of you for your continuing commitment to NAPWHA and working together to improve the lives of positive people in Australia.