BUSHkids Annual Report 2020-2021

In retrospect Dr Neil J Bartels oam MBBS LL.M Grad.Cert.Leg.Med. FACRRM BUSHkids’ 86th year in 2021 – and the second year of learning to live and work in our new ‘COVID-normal’ world – has much to celebrate in the lives of our client families and our incredible staff providing our services: we have increasingly focused on improving the life-paths of children with disabilities and developmental delays and, overall, our services have substantially increased in their quantity, quality and reach, despite the changes and inconveniences incurred in managing the coronavirus. It has also been a sad year, as the gaping hole in the BUSHkids Council meeting attendance table on the facing page attests, with the passing of Deputy Chair Gloria Ryan in April. She served well above and beyond anyone’s reasonable expectations of a volunteer member in her many years on Council, once committed to a task pursuing it to the end to her own very high standards. We therefore have even greater reason to be grateful for not only Carolyn Searle’s eight-year-long commitment to BUSHkids Council but also for her dedication to step forward as Gloria’s able successor. It is rare indeed to be blessed with the friendship, ethical wisdom, life experience and shrewd balance of the aesthetic and the practical of an individual; even as we mourn we realise that BUSHkids has been doubly blessed in these respects. My Council colleagues have, equally, redoubled their efforts this year in the redistribution and ongoing management of their oversight portfolios. The herculean efforts of Honorary Treasurer Allison McLean have navigated BUSHkids through the worst of COVID’s financial fallout, Julian Martin has been instrumental in guiding our enhanced ICT cyber-security measures to complement the expansion of our teleHealth services and Judy Peters’ voice reminds us we are never too far from our rural roots. Gail Huggins and Deb Theodoros provide a potent blend of clinical and tertiary education experience and connections which, between them, has literally ‘supercharged’ our frontline service delivery across Queensland. To all, my very great thanks—not least for ‘walking the talk’ with the growth in our virtual meetings underpinning our appreciation for the day-to-day work of our teams. On which note, we are acutely mindful of our duty of care to our clients and our staff—most especially, the vulnerable demographics which we serve— as we negotiate our way forward through evolving vaccine mandates and other new COVID ‘normalities’. We are equally conscious of and committed to respectfully dealing with people whose historical claims are currently being processed through the National Redress Scheme. The sometimes bittersweet passing of time also brings, inevitably, other major landmarks. We thank our former Patron andGovernor, theHonourablePaul de Jersey ac and Mrs Kaye de Jersey for their keen interest in BUSHkids and our work during their time in office—not least for their valedictory visit to our Emerald Centre and its official renaming in honour of our founder—and, as this report closed for print, we have been delighted to host our new Governor and Patron, Dr Jeanette Young psm, on a visit to our Rockhampton Centre. This has been a landmark 2021 for other reasons, too: it is my 30th year volunteering for BUSHkids, and the 10th year we have had the pleasure of the company, energy and extraordinary operational growth adduced by the remarkable dedication of our inspirational CEO Carlton Meyn: thank-you. BUSHkids Council Chair A n n u a l R e p o r t 2 0 2 0–2 0 2 1 3

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