President’s Piece October 2023

Dear Members,

Wow, what can I say, September has been a busy month and I wanted to say how wonderful it was to see old friends and new ones at our National Conference on the 8th and 9th September. I was blown away by both our Keynote Speaker and all the presenters across the two day. Feedback has been extremely positive, and the calibre of the information shared, the knowledge, and the practice by Recreational Therapists within the industry showed the positive direction we are headed as a profession.

There was a huge amount of discussion, planning and input in many of the areas that ARTA is aiming to explore for growth. Having our face-to-face conference enabled those within the various industries represented, to have input, ad assist in shaping some of the strategic goals for ARTA as an association. A big thank you to those who attended and participated.

Thank you to those who put together the conference, our trade tables, sponsors, and of course to all those who attended. As a Board, we haven’t made a decision on what next year will look like. We have to be honest that it was a difficult time for us as an association. We just made the numbers we needed to ensure that the conference was viable. Moving forward, we want to have the opportunity having face to face professional development
opportunities for our members, however, we also need to have the attendance from both members and non-members to enable this. So we will be coming back to you soon with a proposed format.

Last month, we also met with the Advisor to the Minister for Ageing to discuss the implications of the 200-care minutes on vulnerable Australians and the feedback from RT and leisure and lifestyle workers. We are providing Anika Wells with further feedback, however, the message back to ARTA and its members is that they need more feedback from those experiencing the issues in aged care directly. Feedback is encouraged and can be completed through the Aged Care and Quality Commission. So please, if you have been affected directly, provide your feedback (and be anonymous if you wish) at ARTA will continue to lobby and be a voice, however, it is you, those affected, who need to raise the voice further about the impacts within the aged care sector.

Before the conference, the board spent the day working on our strategic plans for the next few years as well as creating structure to our portfolios, setting short and long-term goals for each of these. It was a big day for all, but we have some exciting ideas on how we will work towards moving our profession onwards and upwards. We invite our members to consider reaching out and being a part of the various communities of practice that we will be establishing to drive RT recognition in the various areas of employment here in Australia.

Next month, we will be having ongoing global professional development with access to the International Knowledge Exchange. I encourage you to lock in and join some of the sessions from our colleagues around the world, such an amazing opportunity for sharing. There is more information in the newsletter regarding the International Knowledge Exchange so please read on.

It is with sadness that I also inform our members that Rachel Askew has resigned from her position on the board. She has served you for the past 4 years and I wanted to thank her on your behalf for the hard work she has contributed to the profession and will continue to do in the aged care sector. This wasn’t an easy decision made by Rachel, and I want to reiterate that each of us does volunteer time to further our association and profession.
Rachel has enabled the recognition of RT within the aged care industry, has sat on various working groups and always advocated for the profession during her 4 years on the board. We wish her further growth and ongoing success and we know that she will continue to advocate for us no matter where she goes. This will mean, however, that we have another position to accept a nomination for the board in our upcoming AGM. If you are interested please reach out to the office in the next week.

As we ride (or slide) in the last few months of 2023, and the weather gets warmer, please look after yourselves and those around you.

Until next month – take care and thank you all for what you do.

Renée Smith
ARTA President

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