What a week it has been!

I write this opening statement a week after the ATDC delivered its biennial sector conference in Hobart – aptly titled ‘Our Strength. Our People’. 

With a record number of registrations (over 180) it was wonderful to see so many people come together to listen to presentations delivered by speakers from across our sector, and those that joined us from the mainland and as far away as Canada and Italy.  

We deliver these conferences every two years, with the next one to be held in 2025 (and can you believe that planning for the 2025 conference will start in about 6 months time!). Our conferences are supported through the Tasmanian Government and this year the conference was also made possible through our valued sponsors and partners including Primary Health TasmaniaCare2Serve and SMART Recovery 

Sector Conference

At the conference we also announced the winners of the 2023 ATOD Awards. With a record number of nominees, the calibre of those nominated speaks to the standard of work happening across our sector. Congratulations to all finalists, and winners and thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a nomination.  

Once again, the conference was an outstanding event, and thank you to everyone who has provided us with positive feedback (from the quality and range of presentations to the plants that people could take home and the fun inclusion of the photo booth!). Thank you to everyone who supported the event, and we look forward to seeing you again in 2025! 

For those thinking ‘how do we do it’, the truth is we couldn’t without the incredible work of Naomi Will from EventSphere who has been the conference manager for every ATDC conference, since our first in 2016. Naomi and her team work tirelessly to ensure the event runs seamlessly and once again Naomi excelled.  

Now that the conference is over, the ATDC team is back at our desks and looking ahead to what’s next and I will leave you with a snippet of the words from my opening speech from the ATDC 2023 Conference, which I feel captures not just the experience at the conference, but the current experience of working in the Tasmanian ATOD sector.  

The tagline for this year’s conference is Our Strength. Our People. Our strength is indeed our people. And these words were chosen purposefully and are underpinned by the themes of Advocacy. Knowledge. Connections. Because it is through the strength of our individual and organisational advocacy that we are delivering positive change for those we are supporting, for our sector and to the broader health system. It is through the strength of our knowledge, from those delivering programs and services to those with lived experience, that our perspectives and expertise are making a difference. This includes those working in government writing policies and legislation, to our champions in general practice, pharmacy, public health to law enforcement working alongside us to increase health-based responses for those who use drugs. We are all making a difference. And it is the strength of our connections that a sector as small as ours is as strong and connected as we are. 

Alison Lai
Chief Executive Officer