|As dawn broke on day 347 of 2019 I was listening to the news updates from both New Zealand and the United Kingdom – both places which are dear to me. In common with my Kiwi family, I am listening for news of the safe return of the personnel involved in the recovery mission hoping to retrieve the bodies of those who perished on Whakaari earlier this week. My interest here is weighted by the sad news that one of the victims of the eruption was a UNE alumnus and our thoughts must rightly be with the family at this time.
I was also listening for news of the 2019 UK election results. As I gazed through the World Service headlines I was, as always, grateful to being living in a safe democratic community where freedom is valued, people are respected and cared for regardless of their race, religion or gender, and where community are gathered together as one to meet the challenge of the ongoing drought and onslaught of bush fires; I am truly grateful to be part of this community.
I was due to travel to Tasmania last Sunday but the winds drove fire smoke across the New England region and prevented regular services from leaving the airport; instead I spent Monday tethered to my desk by my earphones. I am a member of the Marine National Facility Assessment Panel and contribute to decisions on the competitive allocation of voyage time on Australia’s research vessels. In this capacity, I Chair the Benefits Assessment Group and work with a cross section of representatives from government, industry and RTOs to determine the likely benefit of investment in each voyage proposal. Having completed that piece of work, I dialled into the discussions of the working group I am involved with as part of the Advisory Group for Accelerating Research and Development on behalf of the NSW Government.