|Welcome back one and all. I hope that the summer break has provided a time for refresh and renewal as well as the space to catch up with family and friends.
As a new decade kicks off I am sure I join many in reflecting on the last ten years; the successes and failures, the challenges and the opportunities. Despite the usual ups and downs of life, I am fortunate to be able to view both the time passed and the journey in front of me with no little measure of enthusiasm, as well as gratitude for my good fortune. I sincerely hope that the equation balances as favourably for you all.
The last few weeks have been more than a little challenging for Australia – there can be no doubt that communities far and wide have pulled together to support each other in times of travail and disaster. I have been in the UK and Europe with family and friends – all have expressed their genuine concern for our habitat and for the living communities which have been devastated by the combined attack of bush fires and drought. The journey back to Armidale provided a reminder, if one were needed, of the incredible work the army of volunteers and reserve fire fighters are doing, including UNE staff that are part of this national endeavour. The amazing resilience of Australians is gloriously evident and I stand tall with pride for the citizens of my adopted country.
The keys to my office have been held by COO Professor Peter Creamer whilst I have been off site. He and his wider team have been guardians of the physical estate and vigilant in the care of our online community over the holiday period. I offer my thanks to them all.