Dear Association Members,
Further to my Chairman’s Report in the February issue of “The Order”, I wanted to give you an update on events relevant to our Association for the first three months of 2020.
Following the devastating drought in NSW, the catastrophic bush fires in many regions, and the floods, we are now facing another major challenge in the form of the Corona Virus Pandemic declared by the Prime Minister on February 27.
This is a very worrying time for everyone, not only in NSW, and Australia, but around the world, as we all see on our daily media updates.
With the March 18 Government advice banning non-essential meetings of more than 100 people, the Governor has decided to cancel the May 2020 Investitures in the interest of the health and well-being of guests to Government House. We have therefore cancelled our May 7 Australia Day awardee lunch at Parliament House. I have written to all 260 Awardees to let them know.
Some of you will know that the Southern Highland’s Regional Group reception was cancelled in Bowral last week. The Hastings Regional Group luncheon on 19 March, and the Clarence/Richmond Regional Group event on Sunday 29 March are also cancelled. I am afraid to say that any future Association events will no doubt be put on hold until the Government issues further advice. We will put all updates on our website, including information about our Annual Branch luncheon currently scheduled for 29 July.
You will be aware that the National Conference in Darwin in May has also been cancelled.
On 25 February we welcomed 45 Members to our AGM, at which we confirmed the Committee going forward:
Peter Falk OAM, Branch Chairman; Jim Mein AM, Deputy Chairman; Martha Jabour OAM, Hon Secretary; Gail Dunne OAM, Hon Treasurer; John Archer
OAM, National Director; and Committee Members: Chris Dunne, Web Coordinator, Louise Davis, Communications and Community Liaison, A/Prof John Gullotta AM Metropolitan Coordinator Events and Public Relations, Dr Frank Kelleher AM, OA Youth Community Service Awards Convenor, Ron Sharpe OAM, Regional Coordinator, Michael Maher OAM, Membership Officer and Carolyn Lyons OAM will Chair the Youth Service Alumni Group.
On March 7 we welcomed >70 members and guests at a very interesting Forum with guest speaker Gemma Sisia, who shared stories about her work in Tanzania with the School of St Jude which she founded 18 years ago.
Our Youth Community Service Awards program is now in its 28th year and, pending any advice about possible school closures, it will continue to thrive in 2020 under the excellent direction of Dr Frank Kelleher OAM.
As advised in February, our new Membership Officer, Michael Maher OAM, has started in his new role by implementing a Membership Value Review, with the help of our Community Liaison, Louise Davis AM and a small subcommittee, comprising Michael, Louise, and our Metropolitan Events Manager, A/Prof John Gullotta AM and our Regional Coordinator Ron Sharpe OAM.
The subcommittee will propose a Plan for consideration by the Branch Committee in the coming weeks, and we will give you an update as soon as that is completed. We do hope to survey our >2400 members in NSW; however, we may put this on hold for the immediate future while everyone’s focus will be on staying well, and helping each other as best we can.
Peter Falk OAM
The Order of Australia Association
NSW Branch Chairman