A very warm welcome and warm it is. As I write this message, it is 39 degrees in my living room, and I would suspect that it is even hotter in other parts of the state.
I would like to pass on my sincere thoughts and prayers to all our members, families, friends, students in our schools, and to school communities who have lost homes, property, loved ones and treasured memories as a result of the horrific bushfires that swept through the eastern states late last year and during the New Year.
I happened to be on the mid north coast during the holidays and drove through the remains of the bushfires that devastated the bushland and homes around the Taree area. Absolutely heartbreaking. I am thinking of you all and only hope that as the year progresses things will start to get better and you can move on.
I wish all members a good start to the New Year and also a 'warm welcome home' to all the exchange teachers who have experienced a year teaching in many parts of the world.
I hope you had a fantastic time and were able to travel to some exciting new places. Also to the teachers who are here with us for the next 12 months on exchange, welcome and I wish you all a happy and worthwhile time working alongside members who I am sure will make you feel valued.
2020 should be an exciting year as negotiations continue and early settlements can be reached.
I welcome Mark Northam, Carol Matthews and the new leadership team of our union and wish them every success in their new roles. I have no doubt that the IEU will continue to be your union and we look forward to working with you throughout the year.