A pleasure to be back!

It’s been a few months since I had the opportunity to pen the CEO intro, and it’s a pleasure to be back.

Thank you to everyone who has sent me messages upon my return from extended leave. I look forward to connecting with you all and sharing with you insights into my experiences participating in the Social Impact Leadership Australia program (quick insight.. it was amazing!).

I return at a busy time, particularly in the world of politics and as we eagerly anticipate the tabling of the Tasmanian Government’s 2023-24 State Budget.

Last year, the ATDC submitted a single-issue budget priority statement for the 2023-24 State Budget seeking funding for the establishment of the independent organisation for people with a lived experience of alcohol and other drugs. While we are feeling optimistic about a funding commitment, we are also maintaining an understandable level of cautious optimism because we won’t know for sure until the budget is tabled.

Each year, the Tasmanian Government, through the Department of Treasury coordinates a ‘State budget lock-down’ where they invite representatives of key community and industry organisations to review the budget papers in a confidential environment a couple of hours before the budget is officially tabled (and we are literally ‘released’ from the room once the budget is tabled). I will again attend the lock-down and issue a statement shortly thereafter regarding the outlook for the Tasmanian alcohol, tobacco and other drugs sector. Keep an eye in your inboxes for that update.

In the meantime, the team has been very focused on the preparations for the upcoming ATDC Conference ‘Our People, Our Strength’ to be held in Hobart on the 21 and 22 June 2023. If you haven’t secured your conference tickets yet, there is still time (click here!). Once again, the team has assembled an incredible program of speakers and I look forward to seeing you there.

At the conference, I also look forward to celebrating the contributions of those working in our sector when we celebrate the finalists and winners of the Tasmanian ATOD Awards. We have again received a record number of nominations, and last week I joined the judging panel to review all of the submissions received. There is an impressive field of nominations, and we look forward to joining with you all in June to celebrate the incredible contributions of the people and organisations working hard across our sector.

In closing, I’d like to sincerely thank Dr Jackie Hallam for stepping up into the role of Acting CEO while I was on extended leave. Jackie did an outstanding job keeping the team humming, progressing key strategic projects and being an impressive ambassador for the ATDC and the Tasmanian ATOD sector. It goes without saying that Jackie is an asset to our sector, and I will always be grateful to her for being willing to take on the CEO role, which enabled me to fully commit to the sabbatical experience of the Social Impact Leadership Australia program. I’m sure you will all join me in thanking Jackie for her time as Acting CEO for the past five months. Thank you Jackie.

Alison Lai
Chief Executive Officer