What a great privilege it has been to volunteer my time as a Board member, then Vice President and President of such a valuable and well-regarded organisation. This being my last report, I reflect not only on the year that has been – but over the past ten years that I’ve been with RA Tas.
During my time on the Board, I have witnessed in part the organisation’s continual transformation. RA Tas has adapted and developed continuously so to ensure services remain relevant and meaningful for all Tasmanians.
On June 23rd RA Tas celebrated its 70th Anniversary. Seventy years in Tasmania is an important milestone because healthy relationships are essential; relationships with our loved ones, with our friends and our community and importantly with ourselves.
RA Tas has worked persistently to support and promote healthy relationships. Relationships that are safe, loving and fulfilling – for this is the fabric of a strong, safe and inclusive society.
Seventy years is a long time. And much has changed since our establishment in 1949. As a non-profit community service organisation, we have seen the social problems we address become steadily more complex across all parts of our community.
For me, the significant milestones that have defined the recent evolution of the organisation are the Family Law Act, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the marriage and gender equality movements.
Recognising the change of issues that Tasmanians face helps us to anticipate new challenges that we may confront over the next 70 years.
2019 saw the end of the 2014-2019 Strategic Plan, signalling a new strategic planning period. Our 70th Anniversary was a timely event – providing great perspective on how far we have come and informing where we want to go.
Looking to the current day, the evolution of RA Tas is no more evident than in the diversity of our service offering. Our services encompass a broad range of people within the community, and we have become adept at adapting our service model to meet contemporary needs.
Where we are today is a very exciting place. I’d like to think that RA Tas has played a significant role in addressing the emerging needs of our communities, such as suicide prevention, neighbourhood cohesion and the safeguarding of children.
RA Tas is an organisation who continues to demonstrate its impact for the many thousands of Tasmanians that it serves each year; most importantly, this is done with professionalism, respect, with a focus on the client – whether adult or child – and with a burning desire to make a positive difference.
It is my pleasure to hand over the baton of President to Rick Marton, who has been a valued member of the RA Tas Board since 2018. With great confidence, I wish Rick all the best for the years ahead.
I also welcome Shona Gates, our North West representative, to the Board. Shona is a Senior Social Worker and has brought considerable experience in governance of not-for-profit organisations to the Board.
I want to acknowledge the Board for their time, energy and input into the many challenging considerations we have in a rapidly changing society, with multifaceted funding and contract requirements.
Finally, thank you to all the staff who everyday work to support our clients. Our strength has always been in our people, whose only purpose is to support Tasmanians who need us; this I am confident will never change.
Mary Bent, PMS
Relationships Australia Tasmania