ATDC Annual Report 2021-22

Chair’s Report 2022

The last twelve months has been a busy and fruitful period for the ATDC with exciting progress being made on some fronts, significant amounts of advocacy for our members on other fronts, and of course all the ongoing tasks and roles that a peak body undertakes daily. As I highlight some of these, I think it’s important that we remember the ATDC is not a massive organisation or Government Department with endless resource. This work is expertly undertaken by a small team full of dedication, talent and passion.

The ATDC has long led the charge when it comes to challenging the stigma Tasmanians impacted by substance misuse constantly face – from friends and families, in the media and sadly in other health care settings. A real highlight of this work in the last 12 months has been the publication of the Tasmanian Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Communication Charter – a resource relevant to anyone who is working with, representing, or commentating on people who use alcohol or drugs. Not only is this document the first of its kind in Australia, it’s the way which the document has been developed which gives it real meaning. It wasn’t developed solely by a bunch of professionals sitting in their offices, there was real and meaningful input from a range of people with lived experience, who are featured throughout the Charter, making it particularly relevant to the Tasmanian context. It’s also a well put together and visually engaging publication, which will help it to reach and impact a broader audience.

The Communications Charter is just one example of the ways the ATDC has been supporting lived experience inclusion in our sector. The ATDC has been a strong voice, advocating for both recognition and a paid workforce to support the Tasmanian ATOD sector. Not only does the ATDC push this agenda with our government funders, it is also leading by example through the ongoing work of the Lived Experience Advocacy Service and the continued drive for the establishment of an Independent Lived Experience Organisation. I think those of us in the sector can acknowledge and appreciate that having people with lived experience in the room when planning, recruiting or promoting has very much become ‘business as usual.’

The last highlight of this period for me, probably stems more from my role as an employee of a member organisation. Over this period there has been an increased and sustained level of communication between ATDC and various Government funding bodies. This  has all been acutely focussed advocacy for ATDC members. At a time where we are all busier than ever with increasing referrals and increasing complexities in presenting clients along increasing costs for everything from fuel & wages to toilet paper, this level of advocacy has been more important than ever. What has been particularly impressive is the ATDC’s, and particularly Ali’s ability to have tough and uncomfortable discussions that are cordial and very much solution orientated. Importantly too, these discussions have been with members presenting as a united front, all wanting to the best for the people and communities we serve.

On a more personal note, it was only at the 2021 AGM that I had the privilege of being elected to the Board and have since then moved into the role of Chairperson. This has only been possible through the support and with encouragement from the ATDC team, CEO and of course my fellow Board members – to each of you I offer a sincere and honest, Thankyou.

Damian Collins
Chairperson, ATDC Board